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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Huntington disease

Other Names for this Disease
  • HD
  • Huntington's chorea
  • Huntington's disease
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Your Question

I am a personal trainer working with a client who has HD.  While I have seen progress with the exercises we are doing, I am looking for more information regarding the types of exercises that are found to be most effective or certain exercises that should be avoided.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What are the exercise recommendations for people with Huntington disease?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states that,  "It is extremely important for the person with HD to maintain physical fitness as much as his or her condition and the course of the disease allows. Individuals who exercise and keep active tend to do better than those who do not." In 2010, the Huntington's Disease Society of America published a booklet on Physical and Occupational Therapy that provides information on therapy for the different stages of HD. The Huntington Society of Canada also provides information in their Healthcare Professionals Series: Exercise for People with Huntington Disease.

Despite these recommendations, there has been conflicting research about exercise and HD. Some research has shown exercise can be beneficial, while other research has shown exercise could be harmful. The Huntington's Disease Society of America posted the article, "Exercise Found Harmful in a Mouse Model," which explains the conflicting research. It is very important for a person with HD to consult their doctor to develop an appropriate fitness plan.
Last updated: 10/23/2012