Saturday, December 12, 2009

Bicycle Therapy for Parkinson's Patients

This story at the Daily Beast reports on the result of a small study by researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, finding that individuals suffering from Parkinson's Disease can obtain substantial relief from symptoms by high-candence pedaling on the back of a tandem bicycle.
  A small eight-week study was launched to gauge the effects of forced exercise. It sounds more extreme than it is—“forced exercise” is simply tandem riding in which patients are required to pedal 80-90 RPM. The effect on Parkinson's symptoms was impressive: There was a 35% improvement in motor functioning for the patients who did the forced exercise compared with those exercisers who pedaled a stationary bike at their own pace.... The improvement lasted for four weeks after the cycling sessions ended, although it tapered gradually over time....

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