Exercising to Improve Mental and Physical Health: Evidence for Parkinson’s Disease
Physical activity has been widely accepted as a means to improve mental health, yet despite the evidence, it has not been widely adopted as a first-choice treatment. A review recently conducted by the University of Birmingham revealed that physical activity interventions can significantly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, with some groups showing even greater signs of improvement. It was found that higher intensity exercise had the greatest impact on reducing depression and anxiety symptoms, while longer periods of exercise had less of an effect in comparison to shorter and mid-length workouts.
For the second experiment, the participants completed a series of resistance training exercises and then took part in a 20-minute cycling time trial. A control group watched a neutral video while the other group completed cognitive tasks both before and after the exercises. Following the cognitive assignments, participants undertook an online examination to ascertain their fatigue levels. The results showed that mental fatigued participants had an increased sense of exertion during physical exercise, and a reduced power in the cycling time trial, and less distance covered among the mentally fatigued participants.
The findings from this study suggest that exercise should be taken seriously as a therapeutic intervention prescribed to patients. The CDC recommends adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week and two days of strength training. Exercise close to or under 150 minutes each week is ideal, compared to exercise beyond 150 minutes weekly which showed diminishing health impacts. A moderate exercise routine of 4-5 times per week was found to be more associated with improved mood than either exercising daily or only 1-2 times per week. The authors found 30-60 minute exercise sessions to be most effective.
Parkinson’s disease is a type of neurodegenerative condition that affects the movement of body parts. The onset of symptoms is often difficult to detect, however, if left untreated, they can worsen and lead to irreparable damage. Professor Kalbe said, “Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that mostly affects people over 60. Symptoms begin gradually and include movement problems such as trembling, stiffness, slowness of movement and balance, and lack of coordination. People can also have emotional and mood problems, fatigue, sleep problems and cognitive difficulties. Parkinson’s Disease cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be relieved, and physiotherapy or other forms of exercise may help too. Until now it has been unclear whether some types of exercise work better than others. We wanted to find out what exercise works best to improve movement and quality of life.
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