Parkinson’s and High-Intensity Cycling

What if the remedy your doctor recommended is the opposite of what you should do to mitigate the effects of Parkinson’s?  That happened to a former Tour de France competitor and Olympic medal winner after his Parkinson’s diagnosis. He was told to rest – not the remedy, it turns out, that a doctor should prescribe for everyone.

A Parkinson’s researcher noticed while participating in RAGBRAI, a well-known cycling event across Iowa, that his tandem partner showed improved motor skills after a full day of riding, and even more improvements the next day. After the ride, the doctor researched how high-intensity pedaling could reduce motor skill loss for many who have Parkinson’s.

High-intensity cycling appeared to improve handwriting, and there was also an increase in brain function. Additional funding placed stationary bicycles in 120 YMCAs across the country. The
effect of intense riding on patients with Parkinson’s continued to show promise. Through the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program, it is becoming evident that in many cases asking a Parkinson’s patient to rest is not the best medicine. Whether you jump on a stationary bike at home or an electric bicycle in your neighborhood, getting on the bike appears to be a sure-fire way to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.