Pedaling for Parkinson’s


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s disease. There is no cure and symptoms only get worse. But a new program – backed by research – has been created using the power of spin cycling to redefine the fight against Parkinson’s and make life more manageable for patients.

The first sign of Parkinson’s disease hit 63-year-old Lamont Dorrity early in life.

“My early 50s – so, I was one of the low percentage that got it early. And I had tremors in the mouth and tremors in the hand,” Dorrity recalls.

A deep brain stimulation surgery took care of his tremors, but other symptoms like the fatigue, muscle stiffness, and problems with balance and walking were only getting worse, until about a year ago when Dorrity entered a research-backed program called “Pedaling for Parkinson’s.”

Dorrity says, “Even the second time I came, after doing the cycling and walking, I felt like my walking was more fluid.”

“Movement is crucial for neurological upkeep,” explains exercise therapist, Adam Ballenger.

Ballenger says the program is not about cycling at a comfortable pace. The benefits come from forced cycling, where participants are pushed to pedal at a high rate of at least 80 RPMs for at least 40 minutes. The exercise also pumps dopamine into the brain and participants say it all leads to a noticeable improvement in Parkinson’s-related symptoms.

“The biggest challenge is getting up and doing it, you know, getting up and making a difference in your life,” Dorrity says.

Dorrity walks out of the class feeling more balanced and confident that life with Parkinson’s is a little more manageable now.

Some of the participants saw their Parkinson’s-related symptoms improve by as much as 35 percent. It’s not a cure but researchers believe it can slow the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, the program at Intermountain Health is currently on hold. The exercise therapist and Lamont Dorrity stand by the results and encourage more pedaling for Parkinson’s patients.

Contributors to this news report include: Jessica Sanchez, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Matt Goldschmidt, Editor.

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REPORT:        MB #5361

BACKGROUND: Parkinson’s disease is a disorder that affects the nervous system and the parts of the body that the nerves control. The symptoms usually start gradually and progress over time. While there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, medications can greatly improve symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to regulate specific areas of the brain and alleviate symptoms.


DIAGNOSING: These symptoms are typically shaking or tremor, slowness of movement in the limbs, face, walking or overall body, stiffness in the arms, legs or trunk, and trouble with balance and possible falls. The physician will take a medical history and perform a physical examination. They will ask about current and past medications, as some medications may cause symptoms that mimic Parkinson’s disease. The physician will also perform a neurological examination, testing agility, muscle tone, gait, and balance.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: According to a small preliminary study, a tandem bicycle could have a positive impact on the lives of Parkinson’s patients and their caregivers. The study found that regular rides on a stationary tandem bike with a care partner resulted in improved mobility, faster walking speed, and an overall better quality of life for Parkinson’s patients. Jennifer Trilk, a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, said that “a unique cycling program that pairs people with Parkinson’s disease with their care partners can improve the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of both cyclists to improve their quality of life.”



Erin Goff

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at