Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Benefits of Exercise on the Executive Functions in People with Parkinson Disease

A Controlled Clinical Trial

de Oliveira, Renata Terra MSc; Felippe, Lilian Assunção MSc; Bucken Gobbi, Lilian Teresa PhD; Barbieri, Fabio Augusto PhD; Christofoletti, Gustavo PhD

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: May 2017 - Volume 96 - Issue 5 - p 301–306
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000612
Original Research Articles

Objective We have made a 3-arm trial (group vs. individual exercise vs. no treatment) to test the effects of a 6-month exercise program upon the executive functions in participants with Parkinson disease.

Methods Twenty-four subjects were randomly allocated in 3 groups and undertook individualized exercises (G1, n = 8), group exercises (G2, n = 8), or monitoring (G3, n = 8). Executive functions were evaluated by means of the Wisconsin card sorting test and the Raven colored matrices, both assessed at the beginning of the program and after 6 months. The statistical analyses consisted of the application of repeated measurement tests, with a significant level of 5%.

Results The findings showed similar behavior of groups in terms of the Wisconsin card sorting test (P = 0.792), reporting no benefit of the program on such instrument. Differently, Raven colored matrices evidenced a significant benefit provided by the intervention (P = 0.032). Compared with the control group, individuals from G1 had a substantial improvement on executive functions (P = 0.031) and from G2 had a trend of significance (P = 0.072).

Conclusion Findings of this study show that 6 months of exercise improved some aspects of executive functions when compared with control peers. Individual therapy seems to have a more prominent improvement than group therapy.

From the Graduate Program in Health and Development, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, UFMS, Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul (RTO, LAF, GC); Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Rio Claro (LTBG, FAB); and Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil (FAB).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Gustavo Christofoletti, PhD, Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, Av. Universitária, s/n, Setor Universitário, Caixa Postal 549, Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

Clinical Trial Identifier: RBR-56brsc (

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Copyright © 2017 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.