Abstract: Objective: The aim of this review is to critically appraise available evidence studying the effects of increased aerobic capacity in persons with Parkinson's disease (PD) and make recommendations for best clinical practice based on the findings. Methods: Eleven databases were systematically searched using keywords relating to PD and aerobic exercise. Selected articles were appraised using the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine scale. Results: Seven articles met the criteria and were selected for review. Three were awarded level II evidence (one strong, one moderate and one weak evidence), two were level IV and two were level V. Improvements were seen in disease severity, function, mobility, ability to participate in activities of daily living, and quality of life. Conclusions: Current research suggests that increasing aerobic fitness has a number of benefits for people with PD. It is safe to perform and no detriment to neurological status was recorded. There is a need for large, high quality randomised controlled trials with long-term (more than one year) follow-up to confirm findings and assess long-term retention of improvements achieved during intervention. However, aerobic exercise is likely to be a valuable tool in the treatment of people with mild to moderate PD.
Keywords: Parkinson's Disease, Aerobic Exercise, Physiotherapy, Function, Quality of Life