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Boxing For Parkinson’s Patients

Rsb Trainers Understand Pd

Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Boxing with Strength

RSB instructors are trained exercise professionals with deep knowledge of Parkinsons disease. They work on specific skills to improve footwork, coordination, and strength. They understand the hesitation some participants feel.

They understand the limitations some people may have when they start, but as a coach they reinforce the positivity of commitment. Stretching, building strength, and agility all help with motor control and building new brain connections can help to slow the progression of PD.

An RSB program may already be in a location near you. .3

The RSB logo is the Statue of Liberty embellished with a boxing glove. RSBs founder Steve Newman has said, that the inscription on the Statue of Liberty combined with the hope she symbolizes echoed his dream that Rock Steady Boxing would be a beacon of light and hope for those suffering from Parkinsons disease.3

What Is Parkinsons Boxing

November 26, 2019 by Zach Galati

You probably know how important it is to exercise when you have Parkinsons disease . Exercise can help you manage the different symptoms of your PD and can help you regain control of your life. However, the question always arises about what types of exercise are best. And while there is no one size fits all approach to an exercise regimen, many people who live with Parkinsons have been flocking to boxing exercise regimens.

While you probably have heard of Parkinsons boxing classes you may not know exactly what they entail and what symptoms it can help alleviate.

What is a Parkinsons Boxing Class?

A Parkinsons boxing class is a full-body workout exercise regimen where you perform non-combat boxing exercises. A typical Parkinsons boxing class will involve:

  • Anywhere from 30 60 minutes of exercises
  • Stretches and warm-up exercises to prepare the body for the workout and to avoid injury.
  • Punching speed bags to help improve coordination and posture or punching heavy bags to build strength and muscle.
  • Vocal exercises are incorporated into the workout to help with any voice disorder symptoms of Parkinsons.
  • Footwork and other agility exercises will be used to help improve balance.
  • There is also a lot of group exercises that focus on socialization and community in each class.

If you would like to see a Parkinsons boxing class in action

What are the benefits of a Parkinsons Boxing Class?

FAQs for Parkinsons Boxing classes

Q: What Are The Advantages Of Rock Steady Boxing For People With Pd Any Disadvantages Safety Concerns

Dr. Leder: One of the main advantages of Rock Steady is that there is a high compliance rate. It is fun and social and therefore patients enjoy coming. The more they come the better they feel. There are two different types of classes. One is for patients who are not at risk of falling and the other is for patients who either are at risk of falling or actively fall. When the class is in person , we always have medical student volunteers who are there to watch and guard those who may be at risk of falling. They are also able to take blood pressures when someone feels lightheaded

The main disadvantage in our program is that more patients wish to come to a class than we can accommodate! Otherwise, there are no more safety concerns as compared to attending a typical gym perhaps less, because the program caters to a special population and has safety guards in place to protect against falling, which a regular gym does not.

Dr. Ellis: It is important to note that it is the components of boxing that may help symptoms of PD. We know that the components of exercise that can help PD include strength training, aerobic training and balance training, among others. These elements can be accomplished with many different exercise modalities and routines, with boxing potentially as one of them.

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Website Search And Evaluation

A supplementary search of websites was conducted with methods informed by Briscoe and Stansfield et al. . There are no systematic review or Cochrane guidelines for website searches and evaluations. The search was completed by three independent reviewers on August 6, 2019. The search engines used were âGoogle,ââGoogle Scholar,ââBing,â and âDuckduckgoâ and the search terms, and synonyms, included Parkinson’s disease, Parkinson disease, Parkinsonism, Parkinson, PD, Shaking Palsy, Movement Disorders, Boxing, Box, Boxercise, Ready Steady Boxing, Boxing for Parkinson’s, PD Warrior, Physiotherapy, and Physical Therapy. The World Parkinson Coalition and the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society were contacted for their lists of PD organization websites. Eligible websites were those that included data on adults with PD and boxing exercises as an intervention. Websites were excluded if they could not be translated into English were online versions of newspaper articles, editorials, blogs, or advertisements business promotions web links to sub-sites or websites with limited information, such as sites indicating only event details. Two independent reviewers conducted the initial screening and a final number of included websites was reached at a consensus meeting. Final website appraisal was conducted on August 14, 2019.

Bt Exercises And Performance Measurements


On initial evaluation, each participant was screened for details regarding their PD diagnosis, including symptoms, self-reported frequency of falls, other medical conditions and comorbidities, and medications. Each participant was then matched with a trainer, who provided one-on-one assessment and coaching throughout the duration of the program.

Twice per week, each participant worked with their trainer on specific boxing-related exercises aimed at improving overall coordination, gait, and balance. The program consists of hundreds of exercises/skill sets, broken down into three main phases. Phase one began with mastering a set position, which established basic balance and holding a specific posture, with feet a little farther apart than shoulder width. In phase two, boxing footwork was practiced, wherein forward, side, and backward steps were made with increasing speed, based out of the set position and according to specific landmarks on the floor. The third phase involved mastering a series of punches, both in the air and at a bag, timed to maximize force based on proper balance, posture, and steps. Each phase had to be mastered before starting the next phase. Progress through each of the three phases was tailored to the physical condition of that participant, based on the judgment of their trainer.

  • 1.

    participant was unable to perform the activity at all, even with help

  • 3.

    participant required no assistance

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    Data Sources And Searches

    Eight electronic databases were searched using the following terms and synonyms: Parkinson’s, Parkinson disease, PD, idiopathic primary parkinsonism, primary parkinsonism, shaking palsy, boxing, combat sports, punch, pugilism, amateur boxing from inception up until August 14, 2019. The databases were searched with comparable strategies using terms and search language adapted to the individual database format. The Medline search strategy is listed in Appendix 2 . Reference lists of the included studies were hand-searched and experts in the field of movement disorders were consulted.

    The Rock Steady Boxing Solution

    Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense forced exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuro-protective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression. Our clients attest, and academic institutions, such as University of Indianapolis and Butler University, are reporting and documenting the improved quality of life among our boxers. Discovery of a cure may be many years away but in the last seven years, there is evidence that progress is made in all stages of the disease by those participating in the RSB program.

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    Boxing Therapy Improves Balance

    A study published by the American Physical Therapy Association found that Parkinsons patients who took part in two-to-three 90-minute boxing therapy sessions over a nine-month period showed clear improvements in both balance and gait.

    How does it work? If you ask the best boxers in the world, theyll tell you that the key to their success has nothing to do with how hard they can hit or even how quickly they can move. Instead, what youre likely to hear is that success in boxing is closely tied to the ability to control your center of gravity a core component of any good boxing therapy program.

    Rock Steady Boxing Is Everywhere

    Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Boxing

    Rock Steady Boxing is a non-contact fitness program designed specifically for people with Parkinsons. Founded in 2006, by a young onset patient who wanted to challenge his disease, its origin comes from his personal regimen designed by a boxing trainer.2

    Working with a coach on a modified boxing regimen to gain strength and agility, he noticed improvements in his health and a reduction in Parkinsons symptoms. He achieved such individual improvement that he formed a nonprofit to help bring the program to others. Today there are over 450 RSB programs around the world.3

    According to RSB, boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At RSB, Parkinsons disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to empower people with PD to fight back.”

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    Creating A New Sense Of Hope

    The boxing research study began as a passion project for Dr. Michael Braitsch, a physical therapist and 2016 graduate of the UT Southwestern School of Health Professions. It was intended as a 10-week program, but it received such positive feedback that some faculty members encouraged him to continue the course beyond his graduation.

    Thanks to that encouragement, Dr. Braitsch focused on opening a rehabilitation clinic that also offered the boxing course to interested Parkinsons patients. He teamed up with Dr. Staci Shearin, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy and a clinician who primarily works with patients with neurological disorders, so they could launch a study to determine the larger impact of the exercise.

    Both said theyve witnessed emotional and physical improvements in study participants.

    Whats gotten better for our fighters Ive seen a lot of them gain a new sense of hope that a diagnosis of Parkinsons does not mean a death sentence that they can still take positive action and live well, Dr. Braitsch said. Ive seen people with a whole new sense of confidence. Ive had people who have told me before they started boxing with us that they were falling on a regular basis, and now they can take the trash out on their own without an assisted device.

    Class participants practice core stability. The research course uses a combination of strength, endurance, and flexibility training to treat symptoms related to Parkinsons.

    Q: Are All Rock Steady Boxing Courses The Same Do You Have Advice For People Looking For Classes On How To Find A Good One

    Dr. Leder: All programs are not the same. The instructors and the class format can vary quite a bit. Most often, people will simply go to the one that is closest to where they live, but they might want to trial a class before they sign up to make sure they like the instructor and it feels safe for them.

    Dr. Ellis: In my experience, there is a lot of variability in the quality of the classes. In order to become an instructor in the program training is required, which is great, but the variability in instructors still remains. Some instructors come from the world of boxing and fitness others, from the medical world.

    It is important for anyone who teaches these classes to have some expertise in PD. Understanding elements of PD such as freezing of gait, postural control deficits, fall risk and on/off periods, that are unique to PD can make the class safe and more effective for people with PD. Invariably, a program overseen by movement disorders specialist like Dr. Leder will be enhanced by her PD expertise.

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    Boxing Therapy Improves Mobility

    Another thing youll notice about the most effective boxers is that they rarely stand still. The reason for this is simple moving targets are harder to hit. Of course, boxing therapy for Parkinsons isnt about dodging incoming jabs, its about practicing mobility by stepping in multiple directions, changing speeds and staying light on your toes.

    How does it work? Parkinsons attacks both our mobility and agility two traits boxers work to improve through their training routines. Boxing therapy for Parkinsons is specifically designed to help strengthen these abilities.

    How Parkinsons Disease Affects The Body


    Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that occurs when the neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine become impaired. This impairs movement, coordination, and cognitive function over time. In the United States, nearly 60,000 individuals a year are diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinsons disease . While it occurs in both men and women, it affects 50% more men than women. The disease often first develops around age 60 however, 5 to 10% of people can develop early onset of the disease at age 50.

    Symptoms develop gradually and can worsen over time. Normally, symptoms develop on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body and spread to the rest of the body over time. Disease progression varies from person to person.

    The most common symptoms of Parkinsons include tremors in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head, slow movement, limb stiffness, and impaired balance and coordination. Parkinsons patients may also experience difficulty swallowing or speaking, depression, urinary issues and constipation, a softer and lower voice, decreased facial expression, sleep disruptions, and restless legs. Parkinsons patients have a distinctive gait: a tendency to lean forward, making small quick shuffling steps and reduced swinging of the arms.

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    Boxing Is The Most Effective Workout To Conquer Movement Challenges Associated With Parkinson’s Designed To Pack A Punch

    Circuit Training

    A style of workout performed with different stations utilizing various pieces of equipment, with high intensity, providing benefits such as increased strength and muscle endurance.

    Uses continuous movement of large muscle groups to strengthen the heart and lungs.

    • Breathing techniques to combat stress, anxiety, and depression.

    • Improves balance and flexibility

    • Awareness and engagement of core muscles benefit posture

    • Active and passive stretching leads to better joint mobility and flexibility

    • Low impact strengthening exercises keeps joints safe


    Group physical therapy-based, intended to be a maintenance program, full-body exercise class led by physical therapists that incorporate evidence-based exercise principles to address specific PD symptoms/impairments including:

    • Movement amplitude

    LEVELS 1/2

    Exercises will be performed in a variety of positions, including standing, sitting, and on the floor. Class is designed for people who are physically independent, can participate in balance, and on/off floor exercises without assistance.

    Exercises will be performed seated or standing with assistance.


    Exercises address the following common

    problems that occur in people with Parkinson’s:

    • Voice Projection & Articulation


    LEVELS 3/4

    Boxing Therapy Helps With Activities Of Daily Living

    The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society sought to determine the impact of boxing therapy on Parkinsons disease, including improvements to participants ability to perform ADLs. What they found was encouraging. On average, modest improvements in both ADL performance and motor skills were documented among the participants.

    How does it work? Recent studies performed at The Cleveland Clinic show that certain types of exercise have neuro-protective benefits, including the ability to slow the progression of diseases like Parkinsons. This may explain why boxing therapy for Parkinsons is helping people maintain or improve their quality of life.

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    Pfnca Boxing For Parkinsons

    This class starts on Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m.

    Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to class.


    Fairfax, VA 22030

    What is Parkinsons Boxing?

    This spirited boxing fitness program helps improve balance, cardio, coordination, and strength through non-contact exercises. This class includes core and cardio exercises as well as the opportunity to hit the heavy bag. If you wish to hit the heavy bag, please bring your own boxing gloves. Boxing gloves are also available for purchase directly from Title Boxing Fairfax. One pair of Boxing Wrap will be provided at no cost to each participant. Participants can also purchase additional Boxing Wrap from Title Boxing. No boxing experience required.

    Why is Exercise important for people facing Parkinsons?

    Exercise helps people with Parkinsons improve their mobility. It also helps slow the progression of the disease. PFNCA wellness programs have been vetted by the PFNCA Medical Advisory Board to ensure they are evidence-based to help those with Parkinsons.

    How can I participate?

    Carepartners are welcome to participate on a space available basis. Registration is required.

    How is this program funded?

    PFNCA receives charitable donations to supports its efforts to help people fight Parkinsons. To learn more, please

    About PFNCA

    Nearby Zip Codes: 22003, 22015, 22030, 22042, 22043, 22124, 22180, 22181, 22182, 22031, 22027, 22032

    Helpful Links

    Hit Parkinsons Where It Hurts: 3 Benefits Of Boxing Therapy

    Boxing gives Parkinson’s patients a puncher’s chance

    Exercise of any kind is helpful to people with Parkinsons disease because it can help improve everything from balance and mobility to an individuals ability to perform the basic activities of daily living . In fact, according to the Parkinsons Foundation, research shows that getting at least two and a half hours of exercise per week is enough to slow the decline in a persons quality of life. Lets take a closer look at three of the biggest benefits of boxing therapy for Parkinsons.

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    What Our Community Is Saying

    The workouts are interesting, challenging, high tempo and most of all FUN!

    I can say without a doubt that joining this program has changed my life.

    We felt welcomed from our first class. B4H provides a supportive atmosphere and positive environment.

    Ive benefited from increased energy and a renewed sense of hope.

    We also look forward to connecting with our fellow boxers on a social level.

    Thank you

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