Regular exercise can reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease
The scope of study
Regular exercise like walking, cycling, gardening, cleaning and exercising could reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study published in Neurology.
Although the study does not establish a causal relationship, it does show a significant association between higher levels of physical activity and lower rates of Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers at the Inserm Research Center in Paris studied 95,354 female participants, mostly teachers, over a period of three decades.
At the start, all participants were free of Parkinson’s disease, but by the end of the study, 1,074 of them had developed the disease.
During the study, participants answered up to six questionnaires about the type and amount of their physical activity.
The researchers then used the metabolic equivalent of a task (METs) to quantify the energy expenditure for each activity, resulting in a physical activity score in METs-hours per week.
The participants were then divided into four groups based on their physical activity levels.
Those in the highest group (mean of 71 MET hours per week) had a 25% lower rate of Parkinson’s disease than those in the lowest group (mean of 27 MET hours per week), even after adjusting for factors such as place of residence, menstrual history, smoking status, diet and other medical conditions.
Early Symptoms and Movement
The researchers also found that physical activity declined more quickly in those who developed Parkinson’s, which was likely due to the early symptoms of the disease.
This suggests that the positive effects of exercise are not simply due to healthier people being more physically active, but that exercise may actually help delay or prevent Parkinson’s disease.
The way forward
While these results do not prove a causal relationship, they provide important support for implementing exercise programs to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
However, a limitation of the study is that the participants were primarily health-conscious educators who volunteered for a long-term study, so the results may not be fully representative of the general population.
How to prevent Parkinson’s disease
To my knowledge as of September 2021, there is no known surefire way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease with genetic and environmental risk factors.
However, certain lifestyle changes are generally recommended to maintain brain health and may potentially reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
It is important to note that these recommendations are related to a healthier lifestyle in general and are not just focused on Parkinson’s prevention:
Regular training: Physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, has a positive effect on brain health. Regular exercise improves overall health and well-being and can also help maintain your brain health.
In fact, a study mentioned earlier in our conversation suggested that regular exercise could lower your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Healthy eating: Eating a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy can help protect your brain.
Some studies suggest that people who consume caffeine (found in coffee, tea, and colas) may have a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
Avoid contact with toxins: Long-term exposure to certain environmental toxins, such as pesticides or industrial chemicals, can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
While it’s not always possible to completely avoid these toxins, it’s important to minimize exposure whenever possible.
Regular check-ups: Regular medical check-ups can help identify health problems early and treat them appropriately. This is particularly important if there is a history of Parkinson’s disease in your family.
Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is associated with a variety of health problems, including an increased risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
Do not smoke: While it may seem counterintuitive, some studies have found that smoking appears to reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. However, the health risks of smoking far outweigh the possible protective effects.
Limit alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous health problems and should be avoided.
The link between alcohol and the risk of Parkinson’s disease is not clear, but moderate consumption is generally recommended for overall health.
It’s important to discuss any lifestyle changes or health concerns with a doctor.
They can offer personalized advice based on your specific health needs and risk factors. It’s also important to note that while these strategies can help maintain overall health, they are not a guarantee of preventing Parkinson’s disease.
If you are interested in Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about it Vitamin E can help prevent Parkinson’s diseaseand insights from MIND and Mediterranean diets could help delay Parkinson’s disease.
For more information on brain health, see recent studies on new ways to treat Parkinson’s disease and the results showing that COVID-19 may be linked to Parkinson’s disease.
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