Parkinson's disease and exercise


Sport climbing can help improve posture in patients with Parkinson's Disease (PD), including older patients, new research suggests.

In a randomized controlled study, those who participated in scaling a wall using ropes and fixed anchors were less stooped at 12 weeks than a control group that participated in some form of unsupervised physical activity.

The findings were presented at the International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders (MDS) 2022, held in Madrid, Spain and virtually.

The analysis is part of a larger project that included a study published last year showing a reduced Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale Part III (UPDRS-III) score by almost 13 points in patients who participated in sport climbing. The activity was also significantly associated with improved bradykinesia, rigidity, and tremor.

The single-center study included 48 adult participants up to age 78 years (mean age, about 65) with mild to moderate PD. Most were at Hoehn & Yahr stage 2, with some at stage 3. All had no previous climbing experience. Exclusion criteria included having a condition other than PD.

Researchers randomly assigned participants to a sport climbing course or to a control group.