Exercise may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to an analysis of eight observational studies, which followed more than 544,000 people for an average of 12 years, during which time nearly 2,200 developed this neurological disorder.
Only moderate to vigorous (not light) physical activity was associated with reduced risk of Parkinson’s. The more activity, the greater the apparent benefit—with up to a 29 percent reduction for those reporting the most exercise. The relationship was significant only in men, probably because there were too few women with Parkinson’s in the studies to show a similar effect.
The study was published in JAMA Network Open. Another study in 2018, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found that high fitness was associated with a 76 percent reduced risk of Parkinson’s, compared to low fitness.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Exercise: The Key to Active Aging.