The Importance of Exercise for People with Parkinson’s: Evidence, Empowerment and Enablement
Evening of Wednesday 28th September 2022
The annual Edinburgh Parkinson’s Lecture is a flagship event for the Parkinson’s community to learn about progress in the fight against the disease. This year, for the first time since 2019, the Lecture was delivered in front of a live audience at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
The Lecture was also streamed live online and was watched by 890 people. 39% of the online audience were from Scotland, 50% from the rest of the UK and 11% from all over the world. 66% were affected by Parkinson’s, while 39% were health care professionals, university researchers, or students.
The Lecture was given by Julie Jones (pictured below), a physiotherapist specialising in Parkinson’s and Senior Lecturer at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Julie was awarded the first Clinical Academic Fellowship jointly funded by Parkinson’s UK and the Scottish Chief Scientist Office to develop an intervention which combines exercise, education, and self-management with the aim of promoting increased physical activity and the development of a regular exercise habit for people with Parkinson’s.
The programme began with a short video Introduction to the importance of exercise for PwPs by Prof Bastiaan Bloem, who delivered the 2016 Edinburgh Parkinson’s Lecture.
Julie started her lecture by describing the recent strong research evidence for the benefits of exercise: improved health and well-being, positive impact on Parkinson’s symptoms, potential to impact brain health and improved social interaction through group exercise.
She explained that for maximum benefit the type of exercise should be designed to meet the needs of the individual and should be varied, regular, challenging AND enjoyable!
Julie went on to describe the results of her PDConnect Study where participants had 6 weekly sessions of 1:1 physiotherapy, followed by 12 weekly sessions of group-based exercise and 12 weeks of self-managed exercise with regular expert monitoring. At the end of the study participants reported high levels of perceived benefits such as: increased confidence to exercise, increased time spent exercising, improved Parkinson’s symptoms, improved confidence and motivation to remain active.
A lively Q&A session followed the Lecture with questions from the floor chaired by Dr Gordon Duncan and questions submitted online asked by Prof Tilo Kunath.
The event ended with a powerful personal view from Dr Alison Williams of the benefits of exercise for her Parkinson’s.
We are grateful to Julie Jones for delivering such an inspirational and entertaining Edinburgh Parkinson’s Lecture.
This is the link to view the Edinburgh Parkinson’s Lecture on our YouTube channel.
A gallery of photos taken at the Lecture by David Goldthorp from Parkinson’s UK Scotland are presented below: