Exercise Protects Men From Parkinson's

You may remember a popular article I posted late last fall about the newest weapon -- and probably the healthiest -- you can use to fight Parkinson's disease: Exercise. A new study by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health found men who regularly exercised early in their adult lives reduced their risk of developing Parkinson's by as much as 60 percent compared to those who didn't.

Males who were the most physically active at the beginning of the study already slashed their risk of Parkinson's in half compared to the least active men. Even better, those who participated in regular and strenuous exercise early on in their adult lives cut their likelihood of Parkinson's by 60 percent.

Researchers studied the relationship between exercise and Parkinson's by surveying more than 48,000 men and 77,000 women who had no signs of that disease as well as cancer and stroke. Participants completed comprehensive questionnaires on disease, lifestyle practices and physical and leisure time activities beginning in 1986, that were updated every two years through 2000. They were asked about a wide range of activities, including walking, lap swimming, tennis and even the average number of stairs they climbed every day.

On the down side, the link wasn't as strong for women. Although strenuous exercise early on did reduce their Parkinson's risk, scientists report the relationship between the two wasn't nearly as strong. Moreover, there was no link between a woman's risk of Parkinson's and physical activity later in life.

Fact is, most people, especially doctors, don't tend to appreciate how powerful exercise is. I believe it needs to be viewed like a drug. In other words, you have to be very careful with the dosage. If the dose is not high enough, it will not work.

Furthermore, the power of exercise is absolutely critical to the "cure" of many chronic diseases like:

EurekAlert February 21, 2005

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