Can walking in water ease Parkinson’s symptoms? (1) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

USC News

Can walking in water ease Parkinson’s symptoms? (1)

14 Jul 2021

A new USC study by an exercise physiologist aims to discover the potential benefits of aquatic walking compared to land walking for people with early stage Parkinson’s Disease.

Sarah Latif, a 2010 USC Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science graduate, is undertaking the Master’s research after 10 years working in her private practice across the Gympie region.

“Parkinson’s is a neurological condition that’s becoming more common, and walking is recommended for patients,” she said.

“However, there is a knowledge gap for specific exercise measures and aquatic rehabilitation for non-motor symptoms such neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure on changing body position).

“This hypotension can cause dizziness, increased risk of falling, fatigue and neck/shoulder pain.”

Ms Latif plans to study 60 participants in the USC pool and on USC walking tracks three times a week from August, to examine the effects of aquatic versus land-based walking on those symptoms.

“I will also investigate whether both types of walking alleviate anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders, fatigue, pain and apathy, which are other common non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease that contribute to reduced quality of life,” she said.

The Caloundra resident said she was inspired to upskill by specialist colleagues she worked with in the region.

“I spent 10 years using exercise to rehabilitate patients with a multitude of chronic and acute conditions and I’ve come back to university to learn more about exercise rehabilitation to improve community health and help prevent the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s,” she said.

Anyone with Stage 1 or 2 Parkinson’s Disease who is interested in participating can call 0434 178 547 or email

Her research will be supervised by Associate Professor Suzanne Broadbent, who leads Clinical Exercise Physiology at USC, and Lecturer Dr Sonja Coetzee.

Track walking - supplied

Related programs

Related articles

Animal Ecology graduate Katharine Needham working at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast. Picture: SEA LIFE
Animal ecology medallist seals career deal
15 Nov

Completing an Animal Ecology degree with a near-perfect grade point average has helped USC graduate Katharine Needham dive into a new role as assistant marine mammal trainer at SEA LIFE Sunshine Coast Aquarium.

New placenta model offers insights into pregnancy complications
8 Nov

A USC researcher who has designed a novel 3D system that can mimic the cellular architecture of a human placenta has been awarded a Federal Ideas grant to continue her innovative research.

Brain tissue boosted after six-week treatment for chronic suicidality
2 Nov

Neuroscience researchers from USC Australia have found a link between low-dose ketamine treatment and increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain associated with depression and suicidality.

Contact the USC media team

Name Position Email Phone
Terry Walsh Manager, Media and Messaging +61 7 5430 1160
Clare McKay Media Relations Officer (Regional) +61 7 5456 5669

Search results for

Recent news