Parkinson’s and Running

My father just passed away April 9, 2020 after having been diagnosed 10 or so years ago with Parkinson’s. He was 86yrs. He practiced medicine (an OB/GYN). He grew up in Mississippi and moved to Texas to practice in the late 50’s. He was so healthy all his life and we never stopped trying to help him manage his disease. His 23 and Me relayed he was not someone predisposed to have Parkinson’s. He was a runner from the time he was in his late 20’s. He also practiced yoga and worked out with a personal trainer for years until a week before he died. He once said jokingly that if he knew he was going to end up with PD he wouldn’t have put forth so much effort on his health. We told him he was still here because of those efforts and probably made it through his disease longer and easier.
Here’s why I’m looking for conversation: He mentioned once to someone that he thought it could have been all the running he did. Maybe he should have cycled, done Pilates, walked, participated in exercise not so hard on the body. I can’t find any research on how the pounding when running might affect neurologically. Ridiculous? Thoughts?
Would my dad still be here had he chosen a form
of exercise not so hard on the body?

I am interested in this, i have not been diagnosed with PD, but i have had a twitch in the corner of my mouth for weeks now that is not going away, I am a runner too, i average 50 miles a week, and the twitch always comes on worse after a saturday long run (usually 20 miles)

A few points. Firstly the 23&Me is irrelevant. There is, I think, one gene, or maybe two, that are associated with PD, but the vast majority of PD sufferers will have neither.

Secondly, the research suggests exercise generally is good, making PD less likely, and strenuous exercise is even better.

Thirdly, what has ‘hard on the body’ got to do with it? PD is a degenerative brain disorder. If running is hard on the knees how does that affect the brain?

Like you, I can’t find any research that suggests running has a negative neurological effect. So, yes, ridiculous.

And adding this edit: He was 86 years old. We all have to die of something.

Hi. There is some reasearch on foot and ankle injuries and Parkinsons. It was carried out by Janice Walton Hadlock in the US. Santa Cruze. She is an acupunturist and lecturer now retired. All her stuff is on line and you can download it for free at

Inane, snide comments really do not further dialogue!

I have been preoccupied with fitness throughout my adult life. When I was younger I attended any local Gym and and was particularly keen on Circuit Training. I also took up weight training. At the age of 40, I moved to the Lake District and took up Fell Running which I used to undertake almost daily. I followed this until I was in my late 60’s when I developed a hip problem. I then took up cycling which I did until I was diagnosed with PD at the age of 77. I am now 85 and in reasonable shape both physically and mentally. I put this down to all of the physical training I have done. I believe it has only been beneficial and has not had any adverse affect upon my health. I had an appointment with my PD Nurse earlier today who expressed amazement at my condition. I do not mention this out of vanity but to impress upon you that your father would have derived great pleasure from his running and it would not have been the cause of his PD.


Whilst we are all entitled to have opinions the whole ethos of the forum is to offer advice and support.

From the age of 14 until I was diagnosed with parkinsons 4-5 years ago aged 55 I have trained as a professional athlete
I am now unable to do this as I have really bad fatigue issues. Cue weight gain. Nasty comments. Loss of confidence.
I used to run six days a week. Mostly on the south downs