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Medium level of physical activity reduces Parkinson’s risk

A new study has suggested that those of us who partake in even a medium amount of exercise could reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The progressive neurological disease symptoms include tremors, stiffness and slow movement. It is estimated that approximately six to seven thousand people in Ireland are affected by the disease for which there is no known cure.

The recent findings of the new study which was carried out by Swedish researchers followed the progress of over 43,000 men and women over a 13-year period. The activity levels of all of the participants were assessed during the 13 years. The assessment ranged from how much exercise each person got to how active they were at home and at work, including on their commute to and from work.

At the beginning of the research, none of the participants had Parkinson’s disease. The men and women were monitored from October 1997 to December 2010. During that timeframe, almost 300 cases of the disease were detected. The Swedish researchers uncovered that people who spent more than six hours each week on household and commuting activities had a 43% reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s, compared to people who spent less than two hours doing the same activities.

It was found that for men, a medium level of total physical activity reduced the risk of Parkinson’s by 45% when compared with a low level of physical activity. According to the researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, one of the strengths of this study is that it looked at ‘the entire spectrum of daily energy output, rather than purely focusing on dedicated exercising’.

“We found that a medium level of daily total physical activity is associated with a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease. The protective effect of physical activity was further supported when we summarised all available evidence from published prospective cohort studies. These findings are important for both the general population and for the healthcare of patients with Parkinson’s disease,” they added.



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