Strenuous joggers in the study died at the same period as sedentary non-joggers.Michiel Jelijs/Flickr

Being physically active can protect against the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, a new study says.

Parkinson's disease is a nervous system disorder that leads to degeneration of nerve cells in the mid brain area called the substantia nigra, affecting the production of dopamine. Dopamine is an important chemical neurotransmitter that performs several important functions in the body, including movement and balance. Dopamine deficiency is the main factor that leads to the condition, according to the experts at the NHS Choices.

Muscle stiffness, tremor, difficulty in walking, problems with speaking and writing are some of the symptoms of the disease.

In the new study, researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden closely monitored 43,368 (15,505 men 27,863 women) people for more than 12 years. Data for the study came from the Swedish National March Cohort.

The participants completed a questionnaire on their total physical activity including household and commuting activity, occupational activity, leisure time exercise and total time spent on physical activity in a day. By the end of the study, 286 people were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Involving in a medium amount of physical activity -- at least one hour per day -- lowered risk of Parkinson's disease in men by 45 percent. People who spared six hours per week for household and commuting activity had 43 percent decreased risk of developing the disease than those who spent only two hours for the same activities.

"We found that a medium level of daily total physical activity is associated with a lower risk of Parkinson's disease," lead author of the study, Karin Wirdefeldt, said in a news release. "The protective effect of physical activity was further supported when we summarized all available evidence from published prospective cohort studies. These findings are important for both the general population and for the healthcare of patients with Parkinson's disease."

The study has been reported in Brain: A Journal of Neurology.

Similar to the current study, previous research has suggested unlimited health benefits associated with regular physical activity for people affected with Parkinson's. A study released in July this year found that brisk walking improved mood, thinking abilities, motor function and tiredness in these patients.

How to Prevent Parkinson's Disease: Some Research-Proven Foods

Following are some foods that help fight Parkinson's disease:

  • Peppers and tomatoes: A study reported in the Annals of Neurology found that dietary nicotine can lower risk of the disease
  • Coffee : Research in the past has linked caffeine intake to lowered risk of Parkinson's disease
  • Diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids: Researchers from the Universit√© Laval in Canada reported in 2007 that omega -3 fatty rich diet can prevent or slow its progression
  • Cinnamon: Kalipada Pahan and colleagues from Rush University Medical Center in US found that the food spice reversed certain biomechanical, cellular and anatomical changes in the brain associated with the neurological disease and further slowed down its progression.