Physical Activity in Older Adults With Mild Parkinsonian Signs: A Cohort Study

Daniel Santos, Jeannette R. Mahoney, Gilles Allali, Joe Verghese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Physical activity regimens are beneficial for older adults with Parkinson's disease; however, their beneficial effect on individuals with mild parkinsonian signs (MPS) who do not meet criteria for Parkinson's disease is not established. The current observational study aims to determine the cognitive and motor impact of physical activity in older adults with MPS over a 1-year period. Methods: Three hundred and forty-one individuals underwent medical and neurologic assessment of MPS at baseline. MPS was diagnosed using the motor portion of the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale. Physical activity frequency (days/month) were recorded at baseline and 1-year follow-up along with Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) score and gait velocity during normal walking (NW) and walking while talking (WWT) conditions. Associations over the 1-year period were assessed using linear regressions controlling for key covariates. Results: One hundred and thirty (38.1%) participants met criteria for MPS. These participants demonstrated significant associations between physical activity and gait velocity at baseline (NW: p < .01; WWT: p = .03) and follow-up (NW: p < .01; WWT: p = .02). Physical activity was also associated with RBANS total score (p < .01) at follow-up. Increases in physical activity frequency over 1 year were associated with increases in NW velocity (p = .02), WWT velocity (p < .01), and RBANS total score (p < .01). Conclusions: Among older adults with MPS, increased frequency of physical activity is associated with decreased risk of cognitive and motor decline. Our results highlight the importance of participation in physical activities on maintaining motor and cognitive functioning in older adults with MPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1682-1687
Number of pages6
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 10 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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