Tandem Cycling Study: Boosting Health in Parkinson’s Patients & Ca…

On February 29, 2024, a groundbreaking study was unveiled at the American Academy of Neurology’s 76th Annual Meeting, revealing that tandem cycling could significantly benefit both individuals with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners.


Conducted by Jennifer Trilk, PhD, from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville, the research highlights how this unique exercise regimen can enhance physical, emotional, and mental well-being, thereby improving overall quality of life.

Exploring the Benefits of Tandem Cycling

The study involved 18 participants – nine diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and their nine care partners. Over the course of eight weeks, these pairs engaged in indoor tandem cycling sessions twice a week, utilizing a virtual reality platform that simulated outdoor scenic routes. This immersive experience not only encouraged physical activity but also fostered a sense of shared accomplishment and support between patients and their care partners.


Before and after the cycling program, participants underwent various assessments. While the individuals with Parkinson’s disease did not show a marked improvement in resilience, their care partners reported significant boosts in this area. Moreover, the care partners exhibited notable reductions in depression scores, suggesting that the tandem cycling intervention could alleviate the emotional toll often associated with caregiving.

Physical and Mental Health Improvements

Participants with Parkinson’s disease demonstrated remarkable improvements in several areas. The quality of life, as measured by daily living difficulties, showed a notable enhancement, with scores decreasing by nearly five points on a 100-point scale. This suggests a reduction in the challenges faced in social situations, relationships, and communication.


Moreover, the study highlighted significant advancements in mobility and motor severity for those with Parkinson’s disease. The decrease in overall motor severity scores and the increase in walking speed underline the potential of tandem cycling to slow the disease’s progression and enhance physical function.

Looking Forward

The promising outcomes of this preliminary study pave the way for further research into the benefits of tandem cycling for both people with Parkinson’s disease and their care partners. With the support of the Prisma Health-Upstate Office of Philanthropy and Partnership, future studies will aim to confirm these findings with a larger cohort of participants.

This innovative approach to exercise not only highlights the importance of physical activity in managing Parkinson’s disease but also emphasizes the need for care partner involvement in therapeutic interventions.

As this study suggests, tandem cycling could be a key strategy in improving the quality of life for both patients and their supportive partners, offering a new avenue for holistic treatment and care in the Parkinson’s community.

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