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2012 Annual Conference

October 25–28, 2012

Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, TX

2012 TPTA Poster Abstracts

A multi-year study of community-based exercise programming for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 1:00 PM–2:00 PM CDT
Bulletin Board 11B
Presenter's Name - Last Name First

Salem, Yasser

Presenter's Affiliation, City, State

University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, Texas


Studies have shown that community-based group physical activity can have immediate functional benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).  Evidence on long-term effectiveness is limited however, especially for programs that allow participants to attend selectively and that don’t individually track and progress exercise protocols. The purpose of this study was to document changes in physical function for people with PD who participated in such a community-based group exercise program over several years.


Twenty-four subjects with mild to moderate PD (Hoehn and Yahr stages I to III) participated in this study. 


Participants attended an ongoing series of 1-hour exercise classes (2 times/week x 10 weeks/session x 3 sessions/year) for up to 3 years.  Classes included resistance training for 12 muscle groups, floor exercises for aerobics, core strengthening and stretching, and balance training. Physical functioning was evaluated after the initial 10-week series and annually, including gait speed, Six Minute Walk (6MWT), Timed Up and Go (TUG), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), grip strength, chair stand, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale - Motor Scale (UPDRS-M), and a satisfaction survey.


After the initial 10-week session, significant improvements were seen for 6MWT, UDRS-M, Berg balance and chair stand (p < .05).  Improved performance relative to baseline continued for UPDRS-M and Berg balance, and no significant decrements in other variables were seen through year 3.  All change scores remained within the minimum detectable change threshold.  A majority of participants attended throughout the period available to them and expressed satisfaction with the program.


The results of this study suggested improvements for both short-term and long-term participation in terms of PD signs and symptoms and common measures of physical function.

Clinical Relevance

These findings support community-based exercise programming as a possible strategy to keep the interest of individuals with PD over several years, maintain initial levels of physical function, and slow declines in physical performance.  This study suggests that a community-based group exercise program can be beneficial for people with PD, and may provide a valuable adjunct to traditional rehabilitation programs at relatively low cost. 


Dr. Rebecca A States, MA, PhD, Long Island University
Dr. David Spierer, MA, Ed.D, Long Island University