Treadmill Exercises in Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease

Topic: Neurology
Words: 560 Pages: 2

The chosen article is titled “Acute Cardiometabolic Responses to Three Modes of Treadmill Exercise in Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease” written by directors at the Texas Woman’s University (Rigby et al., 2018). The following study aimed to compare the response of acute cardiometabolic to three types of treadmill exercise in adult groups that have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease, or PD, is a profressive, neurological, and chronic disorder that is caused by the destruction of dopamine-producing neurons of the brain. It is a disease that appears in 1% of all elderly and aging populations aged 60 years old or older. The physical manifestations of PD often include muscle tremors, rigidity, altered postural control and gait, and bradykinesia. Because dysfunctional gait is often observed in patients of PD due to decreased step length and foot clearance. Essentially, the loss of adequate heel-strike and toe-off gait causes reduced lower body muscle strength.

The symptoms mentioned above are often treated with medications or surgical intervention, while they may alleviate some issues, they do not treat all the symptoms and can also produce unwanted side effects. As such, habitual exercises, such as treadmill walks are safe, useful, and inexpensive alternatives for an aging population with PD. The following study implements the fundamentals of kinesiology to observe in which ways the treadmill exercises benefit the participants.

Dr. Brandon Rhett Rigby is the co-director of the Institute for Women’s Health and an associate professor in the School of Health Promotion and Kinesiology. Much of his research is focused on ways in which exercise interventions affect adults and children with chronic diseases. He is the corresponding author of this article in the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly journal. The study assembled a group of participants with PD aged between 64 and 74 with no recent histories of surgeries. Within the ten day period of the experiment, participants would exercise on selected treadmills as submaximal and steady intensities for thirty minutes. The treadmills varied by type, including land, aquatic, and antigravity.

The study’s main focus was to distinguish the effects of the treadmill exercises on the cardiovascular and metabolic patterns of the patients with PD. Two major findings were displayed during data collection. First, all the measured cardiometabolic variables, with the exception of DBP, increased as the intensity of the treadmill. Second, the heart rate of the participants was highest when using the land treadmill, especially in comparison to the antigravity treadmill. This allows insight for kinesiology professionals in determining safe and effective aerobic exercises for patients with PD. Individuals with the disease are much more susceptible to fatigue and professionals should encourage them to only exercise at submaximal rates.

As such, utilizing the knowledge that heart rates can increase at certain intensities on land treadmills is essential for kinesiology professionals in determining appropriate activity prescriptions. Additionally, the responsible professional should be aware of the patient’s balance, range of motion, gait, and manual muscle testing prior to any exercise prescription. The study suggested that antigravity and aquatic treadmills may be universally better options for older adults with PD than land treadmills. Additionally, the study was able to determine that the responses to all the treadmill exercises were similar among all participants due to the inherent pathophysiology of PD. This population is also at a higher risk of falls, which makes the aquatic and antigravity treadmills safer choices.

Work Cited

Rigby, Brandon R., et al. “Acute cardiometabolic responses to three modes of treadmill exercise in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.” Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, vol. 35, no. 4, 2018, pp. 424–436. Web.

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