Effects of boxing on force characteristics in the upper extremities in people with Parkinson’s disease compared to healthy younger and healthy older adults
Due to the nature of Parkinson’s disease (PD), force output characteristics of the muscles may become impaired in people with PD. Forced exercise and power-based resistance training exercise are trending modalities used to target the physiological effects of PD on muscle activity as an alternative to pharmaceutical and surgical treatments. Movements performed in boxing incorporate high-ballistic motions similar to those utilized in power-training. The objective of this is study is to determine the effects of an acute session of boxing on muscle activity in the upper extremities of persons with PD compared to healthy older adults and healthy younger adults.
Ten participants with PD, fourteen healthy older adults, and twelve healthy younger adults were recruited for this study. Electromyography (EMG) was used to assess muscle activity in the upper extremities during elbow flexion and extension at a fast and self-selected pace pre and post an acute boxing session. Peak amplitude (peak), time of onset to peak amplitude (TTP), and time of peak amplitude to offset (PTO) were measured.
Results showed a significant main effect of condition pre-post for PTO in the triceps brachii (F(1) = 5.869; p = 0.046) in people with PD for fast conditions and a significant main effect of condition pre-post for peak amplitude in the triceps brachii (F(1) = 7.079; p = 0.045) and PTO in the triceps brachii (F(1) = 7.512; p = 0.029) for self-paced conditions. Results showed a significant main effect of condition for PTO in the triceps brachii (F(1) = 8.181, p = 0.009) in people with PD, HOA, and HYA for fast, right conditions and a significant main effect for condition pre-post for PTO in the bicep brachii (F(1) = 4.256, p = 0.018) and peak amplitude in the triceps brachii (F(1) = 4.587, p = 0.042) in people with PD, HOA and HYA for self-paced, right conditions. An interaction effect was also shown for PTO in the triceps brachii (p = 0.002). These data suggest an acute session of boxing may have an effect on the force output characteristics in the biceps and triceps brachii in people with PD, HOA, and HYA. Future research is needed to determine the efficacy of an extended boxing program on force output characteristics and motor symptom impairment in persons with PD.