Research continues to compile evidence that helps us to understand the rehabilitative AND preventative role of exercise in Parkinson’s Disease (PD). However, access to exercise, safely tapping-into the required level of intensity to achieve a dosage, and consistent application of the evidence – all remain barriers. Recently, I attended our Parkinson’s disease non-contact boxing class at NWRA and I was brought to tears by the display of the exercise, intensity, and energy before me. I was struck with the notion that these were embodied in “3 R’s”: refresh, rehabilitate and renew. At this class, people with Parkinson’s disease, their spouses, siblings, supporters and instructor come together to create a surprisingly high-intensity and high-emotion experience that serves all three of these “R’s” together.
The boxing class provides a symbiotic gathering to achieve a common goal of greater wellness, an opportunity to refresh the mindful and concentrated efforts to battle Parkinson’s. Spouses, caregivers, siblings, and friends are refreshed in patience and perseverance. While all of us in attendance benefit from the ubiquitous images of intensity, and optimism.
Additionally, we were all given a good dosage of rehabilitation. Rehabilitation of coordination and agility, the ability to access power, and the fine control of balance were on display in our minds and bodies. The class employs a full palate of rehabilitation in the forms of fine and gross-motor, of controlled flexibility and bursts of intensity.
To be certain, this gathering offers an opportunity to renew. Participants renew commitments to the group as a whole and to the individual relationships within. We renew our own daily strides focused on health and wellness. Perhaps more than any of the others the “renewal” comes via osmosis, translating to all the members of the group and everyone in attendance in the form of an invisible yet palpable radiant energy.
This class, this group, this movement – truly offers offers more than hope for those with PD, and their loved ones.
Mike Studer, PT, MHS, NCS, CEEAA, CWT, CSST