Neurologic/rare diseases

  • Neuromuscular disease

    Neuromuscular disease (NMD) encompasses a broad spectrum of disorders directly or indirectly affecting the control of muscles, generating general symptoms such as muscle stiffness, cramps, pain, paralysis, and fatigue. The lack of exercise in an NMD patient amplifies the deconditioning induced by disease. Aerobic exercises may improve mobility, mood, sleep and quality of life. Resistance training appears to be beneficial in NMD patients only if light to medium weights are used. Targeted exercises on specific muscles (e.g. respiratory muscle training) might be more effective than aerobic and strength exercises. Stretching and flexibility exercises may limit the decrease in joint mobility. Balance and proprioception training may be important to prevent falls in NMDs patients. Patients must inform their physician prior to beginning an exercise program, which should be supervised. Read More
  • Multiple sclerosis

    MS is a disease of the central nervous system that affects brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, slowing or interrupting the messages between the brain and body. There is growing evidence that genetic (female gender) and environmental (smoking, vitamin D deficiency and insufficient sun exposure) factors are associated with MS. Physical activity may slow down the disease process but it is unlikely to reverse disease-related impairments. However, it may reverse the impairment related to inactivity secondary to the disease. Resistance, endurance and balance training are recommended to improve functional capacity, mental health, muscle strength, fatigue, and the cardiovascular system, and reduce the risk of falling. To secure safety, resistance and endurance training should be supervised by an expert. Read More
  • Parkinson’s disease

    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative movement disorder which causes tremor, muscle stiffness, slowness of movements, disturbance of balance, depression, and disorders of sleep and thinking. Age, exposure to pesticides, traumatic brain injury, some genes and physical inactivity are factors associated with PD. Physical activity is recommended and should be performed throughout the patient’s lifetime. Exercise not only improves the cardiovascular fitness but also motor function, postural control and gait through neuroplasticity and possibly neuroprotection. Treadmill walking and use of cycle-ergometer are recommended, especially to reduce the risk of falls. Resistance exercise improves force production, muscular endurance and muscle size. Dual task exercises (two tasks performed simultaneously) and play-based physical activities are recommended to increase coordination. In addition, dance (waltz, Argentine tango, etc.) and boxing-based exercises involve external cues, which are particularly useful in PD for the practice of different movement strategies and dynamic postural control. Physical activity should be supervised to avoid falls, especially when performing exercises that challenge postural control. Read More
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