Performing regular physical activity may reduce a woman’s chance of developing Parkinson’s disease by up to 25%, according to a study published in the journal Neurology.
This study included 95,354 women, who were on average 49 years old and did not have Parkinson’s when the study began. The researchers compared the women’s physical activity levels over nearly three decades, including activities such as walking, cycling, gardening, climbing stairs, cleaning houses and participating in sports.
During that time, 1,074 women developed Parkinson’s. The study found that as a woman’s level of physical activity increased, her risk of Parkinson’s decreased. Those who exercised the most – based on timing and intensity – developed the disease at a 25% lower rate than those who exercised the least.
The researchers wrote that the study findings “suggest that physical activity may help prevent or delay its onset [של מחלת פרקינסון]”.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, meaning it is a progressive disease that affects the nervous system and parts of the body controlled by nerves. It is sometimes called a “movement disorder” because of the uncontrollable tremors, muscle stiffness, and walking and balance problems it can cause, but people with Parkinson’s may also experience sleep problems, depression, memory problems, fatigue, and more.
The symptoms are usually due to the lack of production of dopamine in the brain, a chemical that helps control muscle movement. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatments to relieve symptoms include medication, lifestyle adjustments, and surgical procedures, such as deep brain stimulation.
Most people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are 60 years of age or older. About 500,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which notes that “the true number is likely much higher”—perhaps as high as a million—because so many people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
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