Pedaling for Parkinson’s™

The Pedaling for Parkinson’s™ program is based on research indicating that forced exercise on a bicycle can reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s. In fact, participants who ride three days a week over eight weeks have shown improvement in their Parkinson’s-related symptoms by as much as 35%.

For convenience, most programs are offered on indoor, stationary bikes and hosted at local YMCAs, gyms, or other community spaces. Learn more about whether this program might be right for you as well as how to join in-person or online classes by exploring the pages below or download our Rider Guide.

About Pedaling for Parkinson’s

Pedaling for Parkinson's Photo rail

The Pedaling for Parkinson’s program is based on research indicating that forced exercise on a bicycle can reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s. The protocol includes a one-hour ride with: 

  •  a 10-minute warm-up at 60 rotations per minute (RPMs)
  •  40 minutes at 80 RPMs
  • a 10-minute cool down at 60 RPMs. 

For convenience, most programs are offered on indoor, stationary bikes and hosted at local YMCAs, gyms, or other community spaces. 

Participants who ride three days a week over eight weeks have shown improvement in their Parkinson’s-related symptoms by as much as 35%. Classes usually meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays or on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 

A typical Pedaling for Parkinson’s class includes an instructor and as many participants as bikes are available at each facility. Class sizes range anywhere from three to 30 participants.  

  • Participants should be able to secure their feet in or on the pedals and maintain a safe and suitable body position to stay on the bike throughout the duration of the class.
  • Participants are encouraged to wear proper cycling clothing and bring a water bottle.
  • Participants are encouraged to remain seated on the stationary bicycle for the duration of the class. 

To learn more and see if Pedaling for Parkinson’s is right for you, download our Rider Guide.

Pedaling For Parkinson’s was founded by Dr. Jay Alberts, a neuroscientist and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, and Cathy Frazier, a woman living with Parkinson’s. While riding a tandem bike at RAGBRAI in 2003, they discovered that cycling reduced Cathy’s symptoms. With Dr. Alberts guiding the bike and Ms. Frazier on the back, she noticed something interesting after the day’s ride: She felt like she didn’t have Parkinson’s anymore!   

This experience led Dr. Alberts to study the effects of aerobic exercise (and cycling in particular) on cognitive and motor function through a project funded by the Davis Phinney Foundation in 2009. The results of that research defined a therapeutic protocol that was subsequently deployed in a few cycling studios across the country. Delivering almost immediate results, the test environments were converted to indoor stationary cycling classes that quickly became available to people living with Parkinson’s, and thus Pedaling for Parkinson’s was born.   

Since 2013, Pedaling for Parkinson’s has taken hold in YMCAs, gyms, and other community spaces across the country. Taught by local instructors, these accessible classes engage participants in a simple protocol three times a week and are proven both scientifically and anecdotally to help people with Parkinson’s feel better and live well today. 

In 2023, the founder of Pedaling for Parkinson’s, Dr. Jay Alberts, chose the Davis Phinney Foundation to become the stewards of this innovative and effective program. With Davis’s roots in cycling and the Foundation’s history as an advocate for exercise, this was a natural next step to ensure the sustainability and broad availability of this program for people living with Parkinson’s across the country (and, soon, globally). 

Dr. Jay Alberts and his colleagues have dedicated 17 years to studying the effects of exercise, primarily forced cycling, on performance in people living with Parkinson’s. Each project has inspired the next, and the research continually support anecdotal evidence that forced and high-intensity aerobic exercise improves motor function (and more) in people with Parkinson’s. 

Learn more about the timeline of this research.

Contact Us

Have other questions before you start or want to speak with our Program Manager, Kayla Ferguson? Contact us at pedalingforparkinsons@dpf.org or by calling 1-866-358-0285

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