The study approached 231 people with Parkinson's disease either received their usual care or took part in an exercise program of 40 to 60 minutes of balance and leg strengthening exercises three times a week for six months. This minimally-supervised exercise program was prescribed and monitored by a physical therapist with participants performing most of the exercise at home. On average, 13 percent of the exercise sessions were supervised by a physical therapist.
Study author Colleen G. Canning, PhD, of the University of Sydney in Australia, said that the resulting injuries, pain, limitations of activity and fear of falling again can really affect people's health and well-being.
Canning said that these results suggest that minimally supervised exercise programs aimed at reducing falls in people with Parkinson's should be started early in the disease process.
The study observed that compared to those in the control group, the number of falls by participants who exercised was reduced in those with less severe Parkinson's disease, but not in those with more severe disease and for those with less severe disease a 70 percent reduction in falls was reported in those who exercised compared to those who did not.
Source:The study is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.