Helping Parkinson’s Patients with Boxing Therapy

You read that right. A gym in Illinois has a program specifically designed to get people with Parkinson’s and similar conditions up and mobile.

“Knowing what goes along with Parkinson’s, I had this vision of myself in 5 years in a nursing home in a wheelchair, ” Eileen admitted.

But Eileen and everybody else in at an O’Fallon, Illinois, gym have started hitting the disease from a new angle.

They joined a program called Rock Steady Boxing which was brought to O’Fallon in 2016 by Deborah Belsheim.

“Fitness has always been my passion,” Belsheim said.

She started the gym because her late dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“He would come and his personality would shine,” Belsheim said. “He was the dad I knew before.”

Boxing exercise is well known to enhance coordination and improve cardiovascular health. But as a combat sport – even the non-contact exercise version – wasn’t something most health professionals prescribed for their patients. But sometimes the hardest part of exercise therapy is getting people into the gym, so alternative activities like boxing may be powerful tools to help draw sufferers into therapy.

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