Exercise has been shown to improve gait in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Stepping practice at higher intensity levels has been suggested as a beneficial treatment option to improve gait in the neurological population. Unfortunately, this mode is poorly understood and underutilized within the PD population. Information on what individuals with PD are doing for exercise would be beneficial to help tailor exercise programs to improve gait and provide exercise options in the community for intensity-based exercise.
To investigate the current exercise habits of individuals living with PD in the community aimed at improving walking and to understand the impact of perceived intensity on daily exercise practices.
Design, setting, participants
One hundred thirty-eight individuals with PD living in the community were surveyed online regarding their current exercise habits.
Main outcome measure
A total of 22 questions aimed to understand exercise selection, focus, and perceived intensity. Questions asked basic demographic, symptom presentation and management of disease related symptoms that were present while living with PD. Exercise questions focused understanding participants current function level, practice exercise habits and perceived levels of exercise intensity during daily routines.
Of the 138 individuals surveyed for this preliminary study, eighty-seven percent of individuals with PD participated in exercise with seventy-five percent choosing walking as a mode for exercise. Sixty-five percent of the respondents noted that despite exercise, their walking speed and endurance has worsened since diagnosis. Eighty-one percent perceived exercising at moderate intensity levels, however little provocation of intensity symptoms was noted.
Our preliminary study survey results suggest that individuals with PD are exercising but not at high enough intensity levels to promote improvements in gait performance. Individuals with PD may need to be pushed at higher intensity levels, beyond their voluntary limits, to induce gait performance changes. These findings can provide a foundation for future fitness interventions within this population to target improving gait.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Lockwich, Jordana; Schwartzkopf-Phifer, Kate; Skubik-Peplaski, Camille L.; Andreatta, Richard D.; and Kitzman, Patrick H., "Perceived Exercise Habits of Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease Living in the Community" (2021). Communication Sciences and Disorders Faculty Publications. 4.