Boxing’s fancy footwork and swift punches help reduce Parkinson’s symptoms.
Living with a chronic illness, such as Parkinson’s disease, can make you feel frustrated or angry at times. Perhaps you’d like to yell – or maybe even punch something.
The Brian Grant Foundation says go for it (within reason, of course). Boxing classes designed for people with Parkinson’s let you put up your fists and knock out some of the common PD symptoms that might slow you down. And chances are you’ll let go of some of your frustrations too.
Science shows that non-contact boxing classes boost strength, balance, slowed movements, hand-eye coordination, reaction time and more. Those with mild to severe PD who’ve taken classes say they feel better overall and have an easier time doing everyday tasks.
You can get started by participating in a class from Rock Steady Boxing, the first boxing gym program in the U.S. dedicated to people with Parkinson’s. There are lots of reasons to try a boxing class, including all the fun you’ll have!
Put up your dukes!
Regular exercise helps improve Parkinson’s symptoms and boxing can be a safe activity for people with the disease. It’s becoming so popular that boxing classes specifically for people with Parkinson’s are popping up all over the country.
Bonus: The class environment allows you to meet others on a similar medical journey. Comradery and emotional support is a must-have for healthy living. So sign up and take a step toward knocking out your symptoms today.
What will I do in class?
Class sessions focus on activities that help with balance, initiating movement and learning how to make fast-paced changes in direction – things that can be frustrating for people with PD. It’s more than just strapping on some gloves. You’ll get a whole-body, balanced workout that typically includes:
- Jumping rope
- Footwork activities, such as moving quickly within a boxing ring
- Punching heavy bags and speed bags
- Punching hand mitts held by a trainer
- Weight training
You’ll rapidly throw one-two punches at a bag or focus mitts while quickly shifting your feet to maintain your balance. This helps you:
- Build strength
- Increase endurance
- Improve hand-eye coordination
- Become more flexible in your spine
- Make fast changes in direction of your feet
- Reach further overhead
Be sure to grunt or yell while punching those bags too. Doing so makes your vocal muscles stronger and may help reduce speech symptoms related to Parkinson’s.
Do I need to know how to box?
Not at all! There are different class levels. Before you get to it, a trainer will assess your skills and overall fitness and find the safest level for you.
And remember, boxing benefits everyone with Parkinson’s. It doesn’t matter if you’re just diagnosed or if you’ve been living with the disease for years. Think your symptoms make you too shaky to throw that one-two punch? Think again. Even those with more advanced PD can benefit from boxing.
I’m Ready. How Do I Get Started?
You’ll need your doctors OK to sign up for a class to make sure the activity is safe for you. Then visit the Rock Steady Boxing website to find classes in your area!
Sign up for the Power Through Project and earn your boxing badges every time you go to class. Discover how boxing and other forms of exercise can help you knock out your symptoms and live better with Parkinson’s.
By Kelli Miller