Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
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Vertical locomotion improves horizontal locomotion: effects of climbing on gait and other mobility aspects in Parkinson's disease. A secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial.

BACKGROUND: In the Climb Up! Head Up! trial, we showed that sport climbing reduces bradykinesia, tremor, and rigidity in mildly to moderately affected participants with Parkinson's disease. This secondary analysis aimed to evaluate the effects of sport climbing on gait and functional mobility in this cohort.

METHODS: Climb Up! Head Up! was a 1:1 randomized controlled trial. Forty-eight PD participants (Hoehn and Yahr stage 2-3) either participated in a 12-week, 90-min-per-week sport climbing course (intervention group) or were engaged in regular unsupervised physical activity (control group). Relevant outcome measures for this analysis were extracted from six inertial measurement units placed on the extremities, chest, and lower back, that were worn during supervised gait and functional mobility assessments before and after the intervention. Assessments included normal and fast walking, dual-tasking walking, Timed Up and Go test, Instrumented Stand and Walk test, and Five Times Sit to Stand test.

RESULTS: Compared to baseline, climbing improved gait speed during normal walking by 0.09 m/s (p = 0.005) and during fast walking by 0.1 m/s. Climbing also reduced the time spent in the stance phase during fast walking by 0.03 s. Climbing improved the walking speed in the 7-m- Timed Up and Go test by 0.1 m/s (p < 0.001) and the turning speed by 0.39 s (p = 0.052), the speed in the Instrumented Stand and Walk test by 0.1 m/s (p < 0.001), and the speed in the Five Times Sit to Stand test by 2.5 s (p = 0.014). There was no effect of sport climbing on gait speed or gait variables during dual-task walking.

CONCLUSIONS: Sport climbing improves gait speed during normal and fast walking, as well as functional mobility in people with Parkinson's disease. Trial registration This study was registered within the U.S. National Library of Medicine (No: NCT04569981, date of registration September 30th, 2020).

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