Parkinson’s Foundation and American College of Sports Medicine Announce Exercise Recommendations for Parkinson’s Disease

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MIAMI & NEW YORK, May 25 2021 – The Parkinson’s Foundation and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today announced 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 of thought leaders in exercise, physical therapy, exercise research, medicine, exercise certification and Parkinson’s community-based exercise programs. The recommendations 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,” said John L. Lehr, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “We are pleased to partner with ACSM to provide people with Parkinson’s important guidance on staying active and living well with the disease.” 

Establishing early exercise habits is an important component of managing Parkinson’s disease. The Parkinson’s Foundation’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project and other 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 in improving Parkinson’s symptoms like balance and mobility, depression, constipation and thinking skills.

 “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 utilize the new recommendations so I can be active today and in the future,” said Scott Rider, Aware in Care Ambassador living with Parkinson’s for 15 years.

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 (2.5 hours) 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.    

“Research clearly shows that regular physical activity yields numerous health benefits for everyone, and it can be especially beneficial for people living with chronic medical conditions like Parkinson’s,” said Francis Neric, MS, MBA, National Director of Certification for ACSM. “ACSM works to equip certified exercise professionals with evidence-based guidelines, so they can help all clients exercise safely and effectively. We are proud to partner with the Parkinson’s Foundation and help even more people benefit from an active lifestyle.”

For more information about the Parkinson’s exercise recommendations and to see the full exercise convening report, visit www.Parkinson.org/ExercisePros.

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About the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified health fitness professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to improve educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details can be found at www.acsm.org.

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About the Parkinson’s Foundation 

The Parkinson’s Foundation makes life better for people with Parkinson’s disease by improving care and advancing research toward a cure. In everything we do, we build on the energy, experience and passion of our global Parkinson’s community. Since 1957, the Parkinson’s Foundation has invested more than $368 million in Parkinson’s research and clinical care. Connect with us on Parkinson.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or call (800) 4PD-INFO (473-4636).

About Parkinson’s Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and 10 million worldwide, Parkinson’s disease is the second-most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is the 14th-leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression), as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson’s and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.

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