often recommend forms of exercise like moderate walking on a treadmill to their patients for a variety of reasons. Walking can help patients manage weight, it improves cardiovascular health and it can help strengthen bones.
According to a new research study, low intensity treadmill exercise may have additional benefits for a specific part of the population though. This study, performed by researchers at the University of Maryland, shows that low intensity treadmill walking may help improve the gait and mobility in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers randomly assigned Parkinson’s patients participating in the study to three different exercise groups. The first group performed low intensity treadmill walking for 50 minute periods, the second performed higher intensity walking for periods of 30 minutes and the third participated in resistance training.
Out of all three groups, those that performed longer low intensity treadmill sessions experienced the greatest improvement in gait and mobility at the end of the three month study. The results prompted researchers to conclude that low intensity walking may be the best approach for helping patients suffering from Parkinson’s to realize improved movement. These findings are currently considered preliminary but if further studies show similar results, health care providers may have a new approach for managing Parkinson’s.