Objectives Preliminary evidence suggests non-contact boxing exercise is feasible and possibly beneficial for Parkinson Disease (PD). Current studies lack detailed description of component elements and documentation of exercise intensity. We present the protocol of FIGHT-PD; which explores the feasibility, tolerability and safety of a non-contact boxing exercise program for PD, developed by a neurologist (who has PD), a professional boxing trainer, a neurophysiotherapist and exercise physiologists.
Methods Twenty early stage (Hoehn and Yahr 1 and 2) PD subjects will undergo baseline evaluations of PD and cardiac stress testing. Training includes quantifiable balance and movement drills, high intensity aerobic bursts, and sequences of punches using the Fightmaster training machine.
Over 15 weeks, three 30-60 minute workouts per week will be conducted in three, 4 week blocks separated by rest weeks. Block one focuses on technique; the second escalates the physical intensity, and the third adds cognitive challenges. Rate of perceived physical exertion (RPE) and mental exertion will be measured by the Borg scale for every component of each workout, and heart rate continuously recorded by Polar monitors. Numerous standardised PD scales and a body chart discomfort scale will be administered at each workout, monitoring the development of pain or injuries. These observations will provide the primary outcomes of tolerability and safety, and secondary outcomes of quantified heart rate measuring exercise intensity, and effect on quality of life. Feasibility details including recruitment, retention and adherence rates will be measured.
Conclusions This trial should provide essential details to plan future exercise-based studies.
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