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Throwing punches at Parkinson’s: Boxing class offers support for those fighting Parkinson’s disease

Categories: Media
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – For individuals with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, speech, muscular endurance, and hand-eye coordination may become harder with time.

The goal of Oak Hammock’s Rock Steady Boxing class is to improve these abilities while helping slow the disease’s progression. That’s according to certified coach Shelby Parrish who said the 90-minute class ranges from high-intensity hits to various stretching exercises.

“Research has shown that forced-intense exercise is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise for those specifically with Parkinson’s disease,” said Parrish.

Each class brings plenty of punches, stretches, smiles, and progress. Participants, like 84-year-old Ann Carlson, said they notice improvements in balance and endurance

“We’re fighting you know,” said Carlson. “It makes me more aware and I feel like I’ll be less likely to hurt myself.”

Carlson refers to this class as a weight lifted off of her shoulders in more ways than one. Above all, she said it lets her know she’s not in this fight alone.

Whether their gloves are on or off, participants can lean on each other as each session also serves as a support group.

“It such a help, such an emotional help to have someone to talk to,” said Carlson. “I’m so grateful that they have this here for us. It’s just wonderful.”

Her classmate Richard Grusin agrees, that adding the program is an extremely valuable resource.

“It’s been good to share with everyone here and get all of the outs how it’s affected our lives,” Grusin added.

The class takes place twice a week. The facility will be opening its doors to non-residents 55 years and older in the near future.

Copyright 2022 WCJB. All rights reserved.

By Amber Pellicone

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 12:29 PM EDT