Group exercise program using large amplitude movements and functional activity training in older adults with Parkinson’s disease.




Gallagher, Karla

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The purpose of this study was to determine if a ten week, twice weekly group exercise program using large amplitude movement and functional mobility training was effective at improving mobility and quality of life in old, older adults (i.e. average age 80 years) with Parkinson’s disease (PD). This exercise program builds on existing large amplitude movement training programs, but differs in that it is delivered in a group format, in an older cohort and incorporates functional training related to the tasks of daily living. To determine the long term training effects of the program, a follow up assessment was conducted at four months post intervention. Sixteen participants with PD with an average age of 80 years (range 69-91years) were recruited through a hospital-based Seniors Outpatient Clinic. Participants were assessed before starting (PRE) and upon completion (POST) of the intervention. To decrease the likelihood that the results would be affected by day-to-day fluctuations in mobility that are often seen with PD, 3 measures were gathered at both PRE and POST and then averaged to provide a single PRE and POST score. A single follow-up assessment was conducted four months after completion. Outcome measures included: Movement Disorder Society-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale-Part III, Timed Up and Go, Berg Balance Scale, Sit-to-stand Test, gait characteristics (GaitRite system), Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire – 39 and Goal Attainment Scale. Results indicate significant improvements from PRE to POST (p≤0.05) in all measures of physical function (effect sizes (ES) ranging from 0.35-0.87), Quality of Life (QOL) (mobility dimension, ES=0.34) and personal goal achievement (ES=2.12). Therefore this group exercise program was effective in improving mobility and QOL for an older adult population with PD. The program frequency and duration was adequate to achieve the desired training effects while being manageable for an old, older population to attend. Further, in those participants who continued to engage in ongoing physical activity, improvements were maintained at 4 months after completion of the program for MDS-UPDRS, TUG, gait velocity, QOL (bodily discomfort dimension) and GAS.



Parkinson's Disease, Exercise, Older Adults, Physiotherapy, Group