The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the Parkinson’s Foundation have released new exercise recommendations to provide safe and effective guidance on physical activity to people with Parkinson’s and to certified exercise professionals working with them.

The exercise recommendations came from a Parkinson’s Foundation convening in March 2020 and build upon ACSM’s science-based standards for exercise testing and prescription.

“As a leader in driving better health outcomes and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, these exercise recommendations are an important framework to ensure the PD community is receiving safe and effective exercise programs and instruction.”

— John L. Lehr, president and chief executive officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation

Establish Good Habits Early

Establishing early exercise habits is an important component of managing Parkinson’s disease. Research studies have found that people with Parkinson’s who exercise experience greater benefits in quality of life, improve symptoms of the disease, and improve strength and gait compared to those who do not exercise. Exercise also helps improve Parkinson’s symptoms like balance and mobility, depression, constipation and thinking skills, a media release from ACSM explains.

“Living with Parkinson’s is an active sport in and of itself. Parkinson’s can be complicated because my symptoms are constantly changing. I can’t live well on medication alone. Sometimes it is challenging to know how I should be exercising. I am excited to use the new recommendations so I can be active today and in the future.”

— Scott Rider, Aware in Care Ambassador

New Guidelines

The new exercise guidelines include recommended frequency, intensity, time, type, volume and progression of exercises that are safe and effective for people with Parkinson’s across four domains: aerobic activity, strength training, balance/agility/multitasking and stretching. In particular, the guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week for people with Parkinson’s.

Because of the complexity of Parkinson’s disease, it is recommended that individuals meet with a physical therapist specializing in Parkinson’s for an evaluation and recommendations.    

“We know exercising helps our health, yet starting or keeping an exercise routine can be challenging for anyone, especially those managing chronic medical conditions like Parkinson’s. These recommendations offer practical, evidence-based guidelines to help even more people benefit from an active lifestyle.”

— Francis Neric, MS, MBA, National Director of Certification for ACSM

[Source(s): American College of Sports Medicine, Newswise]

Related Content:
Telehealth Exercise Program Engage-PD Shows Promise for Keeping Parkinson’s People Active
Regimen That Includes Cognitive and Physical Exercise Helps Parkinson’s Symptoms, Study Notes
Exercise-at-Home Solution Helps Aid Parkinson’s Patients