Exercise cuts Parkinson’s risk for men

Current research says that men who aren’t physically active are at greater risk of developing Parkinson’s.
It is timely to discuss this because it is Men’s Health Week in mid-June, and its theme is: Keeping boys and men healthy.

We know that exercise is second only to medication in the treatment of Parkinson’s symptoms but according to a paper published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, men who exercise are less likely to develop Parkinson’s in the first place.

Encouragingly, research tells us that even moderate exercise can be enough to counteract the risk.
Over the past 20 years several studies have focused on the effect of lifestyle factors on Parkinson’s, including exercise. However, it has been found that such studies can often be inconsistent in their methodology and data interpretation.

A recent review of the literature by two independent investigators has delivered more rigorous results. They looked at eight studies involving 554,336 participants (including 2,192 people with Parkinson’s) with an average follow-up period of 12 years that focused on the link between Parkinson’s risk and physical activity.

Data collated from all the studies showed that participants in the top category of physical activity had a 29 percent lower risk of developing Parkinson’s, compared with those who did not engage in any moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Also, analysis showed that geographical location, follow-up duration, population size or study quality had no influence on the risk of Parkinson’s. However, it is affected by gender. The connection between exercise and Parkinson’s risk was stronger among men than women, regardless of physical activity levels.

The collective analysis of more than 500,000 adults showed that the benefits of exercise were substantial for men but less notable among women.

Clearly, exercise is of great benefit to your health both before and after a Parkinson’s diagnosis with exercise controlling the symptoms of Parkinson’s. This particularly applies to men.

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