Research News Flash
A recent study examined the effects of a 24-week treadmill training program, with and without the use of incline, on gait, mobility, and quality of life in persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Participants included 34 individuals with PD, 40 to 80 years of age. Participants were randomized to one of three groups:
- speed-based treadmill training,
- speed and incline treadmill training, and
- control group.
The two treadmill training groups had three 1-hour supervised exercise sessions per week for 24 weeks. The control group had two 1-hour supervised sessions per week consisting of low-intensity exercise routines and were recommended to perform one 1-hour session per week at home. Gait, mobility and quality of life assessments were conducted at baseline, mid-point of the program, and after 6 months.
At the end of the program, improved quality of life was reported only by those in the combined speed and incline training group; however, participants in both treadmill training groups showed significant improvements in walking speed and endurance, as well as distance traveled. Individuals who performed worse at baseline appeared to benefit most. Continuous improvements in gait parameters were seen over the 6-month period for those in the treadmill training groups, suggesting that such an exercise modality may be used to improve gait performance in persons with PD.
Nadeau, A. Pourcher, E., & Corbeil, P. (2014). Effects of 24 wk of treadmill training on gait performance in Parkinson's disease. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(4), 645-655.