Cycling may help relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease by improving the connection in brain regions, which are associated with the condition, believe researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute, Ohio in US. Cycling also found to improve co-ordination and balance of Parkinson’s sufferers.
Initial symptoms of the condition include tremors, speech problems and gradual slowing down of the body. With progression of the disease, speech and balance of the sufferers get affected and some become chair-bound. To see the impact of cycling on Parkinson’s disease, researchers carried out a study.
They conducted a series of the brain scans of twenty-six Parkinson’s sufferers, who done cycling using exercise bikes three times a week for two months. Some patients pedaled at their own pace, while others took on forced-rate cycling, in which they were made to pedal faster by motors fitted to their bikes.
Brain scans of the patients showed that pedalling particularly vigorous one, improved connections between the brain regions associated with movement. Lead researchers and neuroscientist Dr Jay Alberts explained the findings were unexpected. Pedalling faster had boosted improvements in upper extremity function, so they started to look at the possible mechanism behind this improved function.
Co- researcher Dr Chintan Shah, also from the Cleveland Clinic, stated the results show that forced-rate bicycle exercise is an effective, low-cost therapy for Parkinson’s disease. They are now studying how patients are comfortable with exercise bikes in their homes. They also want to see whether other forms of exercise such as swimming and rowing have similar benefits.
The study findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.