A study found that women who regularly exercise through activities including walking, cycling, gardening, housecleaning, and sports may have a 25% decreased risk of acquiring Parkinson’s disease.
The research, which was published in Neurology, the official medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, cannot prove a link between exercise and a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease. Only an association is shown.
95,354 female participants without Parkinson’s disease, with an average age of 49, were included in the study. 1,074 subjects who were tracked by researchers for three decades eventually developed Parkinson’s disease.
Participants filled out as many as six questionnaires describing the kinds and amounts of physical exercise they engaged in during the trial.
Parkinson’s disease affected 246 participants in the highest exercise group, or 0.55 cases per 1,000 person-years, as opposed to 286 participants in the lowest exercise group, or 0.73 cases per 1,000 person-years. Person-years are a measure of both the number of participants in the study and the duration of each participant’s participation.
As a result of early Parkinson’s disease symptoms, researchers also discovered that 10 years before diagnosis, physical activity decreased more quickly in people with Parkinson’s disease than in people without it.
A drawback of the study was that the majority of the participants were health-conscious educators who agreed to take part in a lengthy study, therefore, the findings may not apply to the general public.