Regular physical activity, including walking, climbing stairs, gardening, and cleaning, may help prevent or delay the onset of Parkinson's disease in women, a new study suggests.
The analysis, which was published online May 17, 2023, by the journal Neurology, tracked nearly 99,000 women (average age 49) who didn't have Parkinson's disease the beginning of the study. Researchers compared participants' activity levels over nearly three decades using regular questionnaires, assigning each woman an activity score based on how often and how long she engaged in recreational, sports, and household activities. As women's activity levels increased, their risk of developing Parkinson's — a movement disorder marked by tremors, muscle stiffness, and gait and balance problems — dropped. Over the study's duration, women with the highest physical activity scores had a 25% lower risk of Parkinson's when compared with the least-active women.
Preventing Parkinson's disease appears to be another reason to stay physically active throughout adult life. The disease, typically diagnosed in people over 60, remains incurable, with treatments aimed only at reducing symptoms.
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