Six-Month Community-Based Brisk Walking and Balance Exercise Alleviates Motor Symptoms and Promotes Functions in People with Parkinson's Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kit Yi Mak (Corresponding Author), Sin Kwan Irene Yu Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: In Parkinson's disease (PD), sustained aerobic exercise is a promising therapy in delaying motor disability. Brisk walking is a moderate intensity aerobic training, which could be translated to community practice at low cost, but its effects on motor symptoms remains unclear. Objective: To determine the effectiveness of a six-month brisk walking and balance program in alleviating motor symptoms, and promoting functional, gait, and balance performance in people with PD. Methods: Seventy individuals with mild to moderate PD were randomly assigned to a brisk walking (BW) group or an active control (CON) group. BW group received ten 90-minute supervised brisk walking and balance exercise for six months (weeks 1-6: once/week, weeks 7-26: once/month). CON group received upper limb training. Both groups performed 2-3 self-practice sessions weekly. Primary outcome was Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) motor score. Secondary outcomes were fast gait speed (FGS), timed-up-and-go (TUG) time, six-minute walk distance (6MWD), and Mini-Balance Evaluation Systems Test (Mini-BEST) score. Results: Sixty-four participants (33 BW/31 CON) completed training. BW group showed greater significant decreases from baseline than CON group in MDS-UPDRS motor score after six weeks (-5.5 vs -1.6, p < 0.001) and 6 months (-6.0 vs -1.4, p < 0.001) of training. BW group also showed greater significant improvement from the baseline than CON group for TUG time, FGS, 6MWD, and mini-BEST score (all p < 0.05). Conclusion: The six-month brisk walking and balance program alleviates motor symptoms, promotes functional and gait performance, walking capacity, and dynamic balance in people with mild to moderate PD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdoi: 10.3233/JPD-202503
Pages (from-to)1431-1441
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2021


  • Parkinson's disease
  • aerobic exercise
  • postural balance
  • recovery of function
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

Cite this