Boxing program helps fight Parkinson’s

Rock Steady Boxing program at Loveland’s TITLE Boxing Club helps people with Parkinson’s fight back against the debilitating disease.
Rock Steady is a non-contact boxing based fitness program developed to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease. Sarah Krumme Palmer, owner Foreverfitness Cincinnati, and Katie James brought the program to TITLE Boxing Club in Loveland during March after receiving Rock Steady Boxing certification from the developers of the program in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“That’s where we took the training class, but we’ve been doing Parkinson’s exercise for 20 years,” said Palmer, who holds a masters of science degree in exercise physiology along with certifications in strength and conditioning from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
James is a licensed physical therapist and doctor of physical therapy and works with Palmer through Foreverfitness. Both are certified in Parkinson Wellness Recovery and Delay the Disease based out of Tucson, Arizona, where PWR founder Dr. Becky Farley is considered an expert in the field.
“Dr. Becky Farley is kind of a guru in the field of exercising Parkinson’s,” Palmer said. “She emphasizes amplitude and intensity as well.”
The effects of Parkinson’s tend to limit movement and motor skills. Amplitude emphasizes big exaggerated movements like taking big giant steps to overcome limited smaller movements. Parkinson’s also causes an extreme deficiency in dopamine. High intensity exercise stimulates brain activity which promotes creation of dopamine.
“Things that go on with the brain help them if they do just the intensity they self-selected,” Palmer said. “We try to push them beyond what is self-selected.”
The Rock Steady Boxing program started in Indianapolis 10 years ago with six participants after being developed by champion boxer Christy Rose to help a prominent public figure in his fight against Parkinson’s. The Rock Steady Boxing class started in March at TITLE Boxing Club has already grown to 17 people fighting Parkinson’s.
“I’m hearing from other people out in the community how much fun they’re having in class,” James said. “You can feel the energy when you come in. They put their all into it. It is really amazing to watch. They inspire me every day.”
Everyone should stay active and exercise daily, but the participants at Rock Steady are fighting for their lives.
“Parkinson’s threatens to take away their independence and mobility,” James said. “These individuals at Rock Steady are not willing to let that happen without a fight.”
Elizabeth Grover and Jim Stark have added Rock Steady Boxing to their 20-year fight with Parkinson’s. Grover, from Hyde Park, first saw it years ago in Indianapolis and has been waiting and hoping for Rock Steady to come here. The exercise benefits are obvious for people with Parkinson’s, but the social atmosphere is a benefit too.
“If they get out of their house and join a group, whatever kind of exercise they’re doing, they will feel better,” Grover said. “Get off your sofa and come join us because you will feel better.”
Jim Stark comes from Landen to add Rock Steady Boxing to the flurry of punches he throws in his fight against Parkinson’s. Beside the Rock Steady Tuesday class, he has an exercise class on Monday’s and dance classes on Wednesday and Thursday. His fitness has increased and he lost an inch off his waist.
“It’s the intensity that helps you out,” Stark said. “When this class is over, I’m wiped out, but I feel better overall the next day or two.”
Of the four Parkinson’s exercise classes Stark participates in, he recommends Rock Steady Boxing as the most intense and beneficial class. The tendency for people with Parkinson’s is to become inactive and isolated because movement is so difficult. The key is getting exercise.
“If you force yourself to move, the exercise seems to be as effective as drugs are,” he said.
That, and just the simple feeling they’re actually doing something, sort of stepping into the ring to fight their disease.
“They’re punching,” Palmer said. “So they’re fighting back against Parkinson’s”
http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/loveland/2016/04/11/boxing-program-helps-fight-parkinsons/82886282/

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