Rock Steady Boxing
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative movement disorder which can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory function. The Parkinson’s Foundation estimates there are more than 1 million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year. Rock Steady Boxing is the first gym in the country dedicated to the fight against Parkinson’s. In our gym, exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At RSB, Parkinson’s disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant.
THE ROCK STEADY BOXING SOLUTION
Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression. Our clients attest, and academic institutions, such as University of Indianapolis and Butler University, are reporting and documenting the improved quality of life among our boxers. Discovery of a cure may be many years away but in the last seven years, there is evidence that progress is made in all stages of the disease by those participating in the RSB program.
Rock Steady Boxing provides a way for those with Parkinson’s to come together, happily, and literally fight our way to better health. We learn to keep our hands up and our feet moving. Pushing myself physically during class brings about flexibility, agility, balance and stamina…. qualities I once thought incompatible with the disease… I am so fortunate and privileged to be a part of this miraculous program, which has changed my life and the lives of others. Rock Steady Boxing provides the arena for me and increasing numbers of fellow “Parkies” to lead fuller, more independent lives.
– Terri Weymouth