Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nordic Walking and effects on Parkinson's being studied

December 2008

ASU study aims to fight symptoms of Parkinson's

Scott Huscherasuwebdevil - Although many wouldn’t think ski poles could fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), a new Arizona State University study is trying to prove just that.“Exercise training in Parkinson’s disease: Neural and functional benefits” aims to see if exercise is a key component in decreasing the symptoms of PD. The study will utilize “polestriding,” which is walking with the aid of ski-like poles. Also known as Nordic walking, the poles will help with balance, which many people with PD have trouble with.

The initial idea to use poles came from a personal experience. James Abbas, a co-investigator on the study and co-director of the Center for Adaptive Neural Systems at ASU, learned about how the use of poles can increase the intensity of walking exercise and observed how they helped his mother feel more secure while walking. Since previous research results suggested an important role for exercise and clinical experience pointed to the need for some assistance during walking, the team decided to go forward with the study. O’Donnell also said that the polestriding was chosen because it provides balance, helps work the upper body and targets core muscle. It’s also more aerobic than normal walking.


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