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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 232473, 18 pages
Research Article

Effects of a Flexibility and Relaxation Programme, Walking, and Nordic Walking on Parkinson's Disease

1Department of Neurology, Justus Liebig University, Am Steg 14, 35392 Giessen, Germany
2Soemmerring Institute, Bad Nauheim, Germany
3Parkinsonklinik Bad Nauheim, Germany
4Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery, Klinikum Osnabrück, 49076 Osnabrück, Germany

Received 1 October 2010; Revised 4 January 2011; Accepted 28 January 2011

Academic Editor: Ben Hurley

Copyright © 2011 I. Reuter et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD) progress despite optimized medical treatment. The present study investigated the effects of a flexibility and relaxation programme, walking, and Nordic walking (NW) on walking speed, stride length, stride length variability, Parkinson-specific disability (UPDRS), and health-related quality of life (PDQ 39). 90 PD patients were randomly allocated to the 3 treatment groups. Patients participated in a 6-month study with 3 exercise sessions per week, each lasting 70 min. Assessment after completion of the training showed that pain was reduced in all groups, and balance and health-related quality of life were improved. Furthermore, walking, and Nordic walking improved stride length, gait variability, maximal walking speed, exercise capacity at submaximal level, and PD disease-specific disability on the UPDRS in addition. Nordic walking was superior to the flexibility and relaxation programme and walking in improving postural stability, stride length, gait pattern and gait variability. No significant injuries occurred during the training. All patients of the Nordic walking group continued Nordic walking after completing the study.