Utilizing Rock Steady Boxing to Combat the Impact of Parkinson’s Disease

It’s no secret that exercise is a critical aspect of maintaining overall health. For patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a regimen that includes boxing may spell more relief than ever. The signs and symptoms of PD may include tremors, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and changes in speech and writing abilities.

Of all the pills I’ve taken, Rock Steady Boxing is the finest and most effective.”– Pete Stewart


A Medical Breakthrough That’s Knocking Out Parkinson’s Symptoms

Rock Steady Boxing, a boxing program designed with Parkinson’s patients in mind, is a medical breakthrough in terms of targeting symptoms specific to the diagnosis. Boxing tests balance, agility and hand-eye coordination, which can all be impacted by PD. Utilizing a “whole body approach,” the program encompasses not only boxing, but squat jumps, heel walking, agility drills, raised-knee walking, trampoline work, jumping rope and skipping. There are:

  • 60,000 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease annually
  • 360 Rock Steady programs around the world (operating in 89 sites around the country)
  • 18,000 people training with the Rock Steady program

Rock Steady Boxing Results Inspire Hope in the Fight Together Against Parkinson’s

The professionals at Rock Steady promote the community aspect of the full-body workout, reminding patients that they are all “fighting together against Parkinson’s.” A 2011 study in the journal of the American Physical Therapy Association revealed that Parkinson’s patients who participated in two to three 90-minute Rock Steady training sessions per week for nine months found “short-term and long-term improvements in balance, gait, activities of daily living, and quality of life the boxing training program.”

Get Local with Rock Steady Boxing Charm City

Through her a passion for movement and dedication to the Baltimore community, Head Coach, Patty Wessels developed a plan to open a boxing gym for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, in cooperation with Mind Body Physical Therapy. There is now a gym that functions solely as a boxing space at the Mind Body office, located at Coppermine Fieldhouse. Patty couldn’t be more thrilled to bring Rock Steady Boxing to Charm City!

How Boxing Helped One Man Get “Unstuck” In Response to His PD

The Washington Post reported on the Rock Steady program last year from the point of view of Dan Kiefer. The author stated, “Let’s be clear: Boxing, even when the opponent is only a heavy bag, is a brutal sport. But brutality is needed, even welcome, when you’re facing a progressive, incurable neurological disease. I have Parkinson’s disease, and it causes my body to just freeze up. Weirdly enough, boxing helps me get unstuck.” Kiefer credits Rock Steady’s goal-oriented training program with giving him the confidence to perform the regular, hands-on movements that come easily to those without PD (such as selecting an object from the grocery store shelf).

In this first-person account of his experience, Kiefer goes on to say, “So I pound away on the heavy bag, not training for a fight because I am already in the thick of one. It’s a fight for my life, and as long as there is no cure for Parkinson’s, the disease ultimately remains undefeated. But I and the other pugilists in my twice-weekly boxing class — all with the unmistakable tremors and awkward gaits of Parkinson’s disease — can at least make it an interesting, and maybe even fairer, contest.”

You can read Kiefer’s full story here and take a look at Rock Steady testimonials if you’d like more information about how current fighters are utilizing this method to maintain and improve their freedom of movement in response to PD.

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