Parkinson’s disease and cycling


“…easy as cycling!”.
Behind this sentence, there is a deeper physical and physiological concept.
Cycling, apparently a simple activity, is one of the psychomotor activities that requires more sensory information and a great effort of the nervous system to go ahead.

Some scientists observed that cycling could contribute to alleviate Parkinson’s disease symptoms because of the great interconnections between the varied brain areas that have attacked by the disease.
Cycling activity stimulates the coordination, the equilibrium and the multisensory processing coming from all the other sense organs. 

Alberts Jay, an American neuroscientist of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute in Ohio, told that the discovery of a healthy effect of cycling in patients afflicted with Parkinson’s disease was accidental. The research has started after he noticed improvements in his partner, afflicted by Parkinson’s disease, after a long tandem ride, “…I started pedaling faster, forcing my partner to follow my cadence. I realized she started getting better, so we started studying the possible reasons behind this functional improvement…”.

Twenty-six patients afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, who make use of stationary bicycle 3 times a week for two months, have examined
. Some of them have pedaled with their own rhythm, while others used a bicycle that obliged them to pedal faster.
The final exams revealed that the particularly energetic pedal reinforced the connections between the brain’s areas closed to the movement. The Parkinson’s UK Association pleasantly approved the research, stating that equilibrium and coordination could be seriously damaged by the illness’ development.  However, it also highlighted that not all the patients can benefit from this discover.

Doctor Kieran Breen, director of the research center, declared, “Even though it is too soon to encourage people afflicted with Parkinson’s disease to ride a bike for at least 3 times a week to obtain good results, on the basis of this study it is obvious that the workout could be really beneficial”.