Neuro Wellness Program
In 3 Months Neuro Riders lost Significant Gains in Cycle Class and Experience Symptoms.
West Des Moines, Iowa
by Kris Meldrum, BA , ACE Group Fitness Instructor, ACE Approved Parkinson’s Cycle Coach, Genesis Health Club WDM
Vetted by Dr. Jay Alberts, Ph.D., Vice-Chair of Innovation in the Neurological Institute and Neuroscientist in Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute Department of Biomedical Engineering
The first indoor Genesis Neuro Cycle ride back, after The COVID-19 pandemic kept riders out of the cycle studio for three months, was actually worse than when we started for the first time years prior. It was so unexpected and jolting. Students (primarily Parkinson’s) that I had worked with for years were displaying symptoms I had never seen before. It took my breath away. And riding the bike again took all of our breaths away. It was like climbing up the biggest hill we had ever encountered. Gone was the optimal 80-85 RPM (the magic revolutions-per-minute that kickstarts the brain to create better motor function) that they had worked so hard to achieve. Watts (strength output) had plummeted. How was this possible in such a short amount of time? And most heart-wrentching was to see them struggling with symptoms they didn’t have prior to COVID-19 showing up on our door.
This real life scenario reinforces what Dr. Jay Albert’s (Ph.D., Vice-Chair of Innovation in the Neurological Institute and Neuroscientist in Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute Department of Biomedical Engineering) 2009 landmark research titled Forced, Not Voluntary, Exercise Improves Motor Function in Parkinson’s Disease Patients showed in his research findings. Dr. Albert compared two cycle groups of Parkinson’s patients: one group riding at a “forced-paced” (exercising at a higher level than they normally would by themselves) versus a group riding at “voluntary-paced” (exercising at their own pace). While both groups improved aerobically, the VE (voluntary effort exercise) Group did not exhibit any improvement on the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor scores. The FE (forced effort exercise) Group, improved 35% from baseline. This group also had substantial improvement in their overall motor function—balance, tremor, stiffness, and Bradykinesia. Also, the FE Group maintained those benefits up to four weeks after they stopped cycling.