Intense treadmill exercise can be safe for people who have recently been given diagnoses of Parkinson’s disease and may substantially slow the progression of their condition. The New York Times.
A lot has happened in the Parkinson’s world this past year. We have heard a lot about the connection between the gut and Parkinson’s. And faulty genes, mitochondria, stem-cell treatments, ultrasound treatments, repurposing of drugs, and on and on. Each month brings some new theory that could just be the breakthrough we were looking for. A month later, there is yet another new finding that could be the one.
But let’s not forget about exercise. If you have been following me, you know that I exercise a lot. I go to Boxing for PD classes, yoga and still manage to play some tennis. Last week’s big news was a study published in the NY Times about the benefits of intense exercise for PD. There have been a number of studies over the past 10 years that have looked at exercise for PD, with varying outcomes. But this one was apparently the first set up as a clinical trial. For the new study, which was published in JAMA Neurology, the researchers decided to treat exercise as if it were a drug and carefully track the safety and effectiveness of different “doses” of exercise in a formal Phase 2 clinical trial. In the trials, those patients in the high-intensity group had better outcomes. Their findings: “High-intensity treadmill exercise may be feasible and prescribed safely for patients with Parkinson disease.” As someone who emphasizes exercise, this did not surprise me.
About six months ago, Mr. Twitchy and I acquired a Peloton Bike. In case you’ve managed to miss the much-played commercials for Peleton showing a mom exercising on her Peloton Bike in her living room, while her kids play quietly nearby (whoever dreamed this up does not have small children), the Peloton Bike is a Spin Bike for your home. It’s not cheap and there is a monthly fee for “attending” classes (either live or “on demand”) You can log into numerous classes led by cute, young, and way-too-fit instructors, who guide you through a workout while you watch on the big video screen attached to the bike.
Classes range from at 10 minutes to 90 minutes long. The instructor encourages you to move to the beat of the music and to adjust your resistance to increase or decrease the intensity (which simulates biking up and down hills).
This is not a commercial for Peleton. While I have never been a big fan of exercise bikes (or real bikes for that matter), this is fun! And it is some of the most intense exercise I have done. Being competitive by nature, I try to keep up with that cute guy on the screen, and the cadence and resistence calls he makes. Although not always successfull, I can feel myself improving and I have worked my way up to 20 minute classes, frequnetly ready to drop at the end of the session, but stronger for the effort. I never went to the spin classes at the gym. The thought of going to one of those classes in a hot sweaty room with 25 other people was terrifying, so I avoided them. Now, in the privacy and comfort of my own home, I can choose whatever class I want, and quit if I want to, or scream at the instructor, or at myself, when I can’t keep up. The best part, is that I am getting the benefits of intense exercise that the experts now say will keep me going and going and going…….
WARNING: When starting any form of strenuous exercise, please consult your doctor first. This is NO exception. In fact, you may want supervision by a trainer or Physical Therapist until you learn what you can do on the Peleton or any other resistance training bike. It is much too easy to overdo it, which could lead to other problems.