HealthDay News — For independently ambulatory patients with Parkinson disease, aerobic walking is associated with improvements in aerobic fitness, motor function, fatigue, mood, and quality of life, according to researchers.

In order to determine if aerobic walking regimens affect patients with Parkinson disease, Ergun Y. Uc, MD, of the University of Iowa, and colleagues conducted a six-month randomized trial that included 60 participants diagnosed with independently ambulatory Parkinson disease. Their findings were published in Neurology.

All groups exercised three times per week, for 45 minutes at each session. Of the patients, 43 were randomized over the first two years to continuous or interval training and the remaining 17 patients were allocated to continuous training only.

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More than 80% of participants completed the study, with mean attendance of 83.3%. Participants exercised at 46.8% of their heart rate reserve. No serious adverse events occurred.

Improvements were observed in maximum oxygen consumption, gait speed, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale sections I and II scores, fatigue, depression, quality of life, and flanker task scores (P<0.05 to P<0.001) across all completers. Improvements on the flanker task and quality of life were associated with increase in maximum oxygen consumption (P<0.05).

“Our preliminary study suggests that aerobic walking in a community setting is safe, well tolerated, and improves aerobic fitness, motor function, fatigue, mood, executive control, and quality of life in mild to moderate [Parkinson] disease,” wrote the researchers.


  1. Neurology. 2014; doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000000644