Written By Neurological Physiotherapist Alice Latham: Managing Parkinson’s Disease with Exercise

Exercise could be the key to managing your symptoms with Parkinson’s Disease

Written by Alice Latham, Sports & Spinal’s Neurological Physiotherapist. 

Alice works with a range of Neurological patients along with patients with Parkinsons Disease and has seen a positive outcome using exercises prescribed from a Physiotherapist or Exercise Physiologist. 

The positive effects of exercise and physical activity have been widely documented for a variety of health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, mental health, cancer and can affect overall mortality (1). Recently the preventative benefit of exercise has been extended to neurodegenerative diseases, such as PD (2).

The cardinal signs of Parkinson’s disease; tremor, Bradykinesia, rigidity and postural instability, primarily impact motor function and walking ability (3). Physical activity can have a positive effect on your mobility, gait pattern, balance and upper and lower limb motor function, these improvements positively impact everyday functions and activities (4).

Getting involved in exercise in all stages of PD but in particular, the early stages of PD has been shown to have a neuroprotective effect. Being sedentary is one of the fastest ways to increase your symptoms. Exercise when intensive has been found to slow down the progression of motor decay, it might delay the need for increasing drug treatment (5, 6, 7).

Forms of physical activity and interventions vary, but the consensus seems to be on activities working on aerobic capacity, mobility, gait pattern, balance, multi-tasking and strength. Furthermore, Activities need to be intensive and completed at a high frequency. Overall activities are best supervised by physiotherapists and trained Exercises physiologists that can assess and tailor a program to your specific needs (8, 9).

If you want to be the best you can be, now is the time to review your exercise program. Exercise should be a long term goal for those with PD, but it often can be difficult to maintain consistency on your own. We are offering the professional assessment, creation and supervision of exercise for people with PD.


What Sports & Spinal can offer: 

  • Specialist Physiotherapy assessment, supervision and guidance
  • Trained Exercise physiology assessment, supervision and guidance
  • Individualised exercise programs
  • 1 hr long Weekly group classes
  • Information giving and signposting
  • Falls assessment and balance intervention
  • Fun and safe environment
  • For all stages of PD
  • Help you to maintain a lifelong exercise
  • Work towards your individual goals

More about Alice Latham

Alice is a UK Qualified Physiotherapist. She has a Sports and Exercise Science degree from Loughborough University and Completed a Masters in Physiotherapy at the University of Southampton. She has experience working in both the acute and community sectors of the National Health Service in the UK, where she developed a range of skills, as well as a specialist interest in Stroke and Neurological rehabilitation as well as elderly care.

Alice is a lover of all things active, getting outdoors and healthy living. She has been involved in competitive sports all her life, competing at national and international levels in Swimming, Running, Netball and most recently Triathlons. She has great interest and passion for rehabilitation, exercise and Pilates.

Alice is available for Physiotherapy appointments at our Kawana location. For more information, visit Parkinson’s Queensland >here

Reference list

1) Pate RR, Pratt M, Blair SN, et al. Physical activity and public health: a recommendation from the centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicing. JAMA 1995; 273:402-407.
2) Xu Q, Park Y, Huang X et al. Physical activities and future risk of Parkinson’s disease. Neurology 2010; 75:341-348
3) Jankovic J Parkinsons disease: clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychaitry, 2008, 79, 368-376
4) Lauze M, Daneault JF, Duval C. Journal of Parkinson’s disease 6, 2016, 685-698
5) Frazzitta G, Maestri R, Bertotti G, Riboldazzi G, Boveri N, Perini M, Uccelini D, Turla M, Comi C, Pezzoli G, Ghilardi M. Intensive Rehabilitation Treatment in Early Parkinson’s disease: A Randomised Pilot Study with a 2-year follow up. Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 2014. Vol 29, Issue 2, pp. 123 – 131
6) Hirsh M, Farley B. Exercise and Neuroplasticity in Persons living with Parkinson’s disease. Eur J Phys Rehabil Med 2009; 45: 215-229.
7) Petzinger G, Fisher B, Van Leeuwen J, Vukovic M, Akopian G, Meshul C, Holschneider D, Nacca A, Walsh J, Jakowec M. Enhancing Neuroplasticity in the Basal Ganglia: The role of exercise in Parkinson’s disease. Mov Disord2010; 25(Suppl 1): S141-S145
8) Allen NE, Sherrington C, Suriyarahchi GD, et al Exercise and Motor training in people with parkinson’s Disease: A systematic review of participant charecterisitics, intervention delivery, Rentention Rates, Adherence and Adverse Events in Clinical Trials. Parkinson’s Disease. 2012. Article ID 854328
9) Keus S, BLoem B, Hendriks E, Bredero-Cohen A, Munneke, M. Evidence based analysis of physical therapy in Parkinson’s disease with recommendations for practice and research. Mov Disord 2007; 22 (4): 451-460