Why Weight Training?
Exercise has SO MANY benefits for people with PD including improving the brain’s ability to use dopamine, slowing disease progression and improving daily function.
Resistance training (or weight training) is especially beneficial for management of PD symptoms. Different forms of resistance training include using free weights, weight machines, resistance bands and your own body weight.
Past studies have shown that long term weight training twice a week (over a period of 2 years) may reduce the “cardinal symptoms” of stiffness, bradykinesia (slowness), and tremors often seen in people with Parkinson’s disease.
A more recent study published in 2020, showed that a shorter period of twice per week resistance training (only 9 weeks) significantly reduced bradykinesia in people with mild to moderate PD.
Forty individuals diagnosed with PD from stage 1 to 3 on the Hoehn and Yahr scale took part on the study.
Resistance training focus on major muscle groups and involved the following exercises: chest press, knee extension, hamstrings curl, leg press, and seated row.
Training sessions lasted approximately 50–60 mins with 2 sets of 10–12 repetitions until fatigue.
Standardized tests measuring performance in walking speed, turning, and motor performance on the UPDRS (Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale) were all significantly different between the training group and control group in the post-training assessments.
Take aways: There is good evidence to support adding resistance training (weight training) to your SHORT and LONG TERM game plan for managing PD motor symptoms.
Interested in developing a weight training routine in 2022? A physical therapist can help you select the right routines and exercises to increase mobility, strength, and balance. They can also tailor a plan to your specific symptoms and lifestyle needs. Our physical therapists at Engage specializing in rehabilitation for people with PD are happy to help!