Date of Award

Winter 3-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Andrew Parks


As the 2nd most common neurodegenerative disorder, Parkinson’s disease (PD) is compiled of motor and nonmotor symptoms (Dashtipour et al., 2015). Motor symptoms include bradykinesia (slow movement), resting tremor, rigidity, and postural instability, and nonmotor symptoms include cognitive delays (Steib et al., 2018). Many studies have found positive results using exercise as therapy, but few have inspected daily levels of physical activity on balance, cognition, and quality of life in adults with PD. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation is to examine the relationship between physical activity level and progressive symptoms of PD - specifically bradykinesia, balance, cognitive function, and QoL, compared with healthy older adults (HOA). After an initial meeting, participants wore accelerometers on their hip for two weeks to track daily physical activity. Then, they completed a timed up and go (TUG), quality of life inventory, Eriksen Flanker test, and 1-back assessment. Results indicate that moderate & moderate vigorous activity levels may provide the best outcomes on the cognitive tasks for the PD group, however, there was limited significance for HOA. No significant outcomes were observed for the TUG or QoLI. Moderate and MVPA provided favorable cognitive effects for PD. With so much stacked against those with PD, daily physical activity simply added to one’s routine may be the best adjunctive strategy to combat symptoms of the disease.