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  • Writer's pictureCameron Allan

The Benefits of Home Exercises on Motor Performance in Patients with Parkinson's Disease

People who have Parkinson’s disease can develop functional activity disorders which can directly relate to a loss of certain reflexes. In turn, this can result in difficulty performing daily activities (Calgar et al., 2005). One major symptom of Parkinson’s disease is bradykinesia, which is defined by slow movement and an impaired ability to initiate movements (Parkinson's Foundation, 2020). Like bradykinesia, people with Parkinson's Disease may also develop hypokinesia, causing them to have a decreased amplitude of movement (Lieberman, 2016). It has been found that exercise has protective benefits against the onset of symptoms for people with Parkinson’s disease. When people exercise neurotrophic factors are released, which are small proteins that support the growth of developing mature neurons. Exercise also provides greater cerebral oxygenation, as it promotes new cell growth and survival (Goodwin et al., 2008).

The goal of home exercise training is to improve range of motion, functional activity, and balance. In a study done by Calgar et al. (2005), people with Parkinson's disease were given a list of exercises to improve different aspects of mobility at home. The exercises given were to improve their stretching, breathing, and body movements. By the end of an 8-month program, there was significant improvement on walking speed and hand motor performance. It was also helpful if the people with Parkinson's disease had regular visits with a physiotherapist to increase compliance to do the exercises. Having the patients keep track of their progress by writing it into a daily diary helped encourage them to stick with the exercise routine.

Home exercises can be extremely valuable, especially for those who have limited access to health services. There has also been evidence to show that centre-based programs produced similar effects on balance and quality of life to home programs (McMaster University, 2020). Doing exercises at home is easy because it is inexpensive and requires minimal equipment and resources to complete. However, improvements in mobility can appear to be relatively short-lived unless the exercises are continued long-term.

The Parkinson Society Canada (2007) has provided many exercises that can be completed indoors for people with Parkinson's disease. One example is walking around the house and incrementing the difficulty of the activity level such as taking longer steps and swinging your arms. The Parkinson Society Canada also provides posture exercises, such as an exercise where you sit down in a chair and move your shoulder blades to touch the back of the chair. It is important to make sure to hold your shoulder blades there for a few seconds. There are many more exercises to try out, so if you are interested, check out this link!

Additionally, check out past newsletters from Parkinson's Canada Kingston Chapter meetings to learn about exercise programs and resources!


Caglar, A. T., Kiziltan, G., & Gurses, H. N. (2005, December 1). Effects of home exercises on motor performance in patients with Parkinson's disease - A T Caglar, H N Gurses, F K Mutluay, G Kiziltan, 2005. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

Goodwin, V., Richards, S., Taylor, R., Taylor, A., & Campbell, J. (2008, January 07). The effectiveness of exercise interventions for people with Parkinson's disease: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

McMaster University. (2005, August 5). Home-based exercise programs for Parkinson's disease: Accessible exercise from the comfort of home. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

Parkinson's Foundation. (2020). Bradykinesia (Slowness of Movement). Retrieved October 18, 2020, from

Parkinson Society Canada. (2007, July 3). Exercises for People with Parkinson's. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from



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