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Boxing Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease

Guidance From An Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Boxing with Strength

Its important to contact a health professional before commencing exercise to ensure your safety. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can assess and tailor an exercise program specific to your individual needs. They will supervise your exercises and ensure you start at a light intensity, gradually increasing your prescription based on your progress. Sometimes individuals with Parkinsons may need to be cautious during hot temperatures, around trip hazards and if they are fatigued or unwell. Your Accredited Exercise Physiologist will adapt your program and always be there to guide you.

to find an exercise physiologist near you.

Cohort Description And Type Of Study

This cohort consisted of 98 PD patients who voluntarily enrolled in a private BT clinic. All participants enrolled in that BT clinic were included in the study, which meets the definition of a longitudinal cohort study by STROBE guidelines , to which this study adhered. All methods were carried out in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations via a Northwestern University IRB-approved protocol.

Age As A Variable In Falls Reduced By Bt

To assess the effect of age in BT and PD-associated falls, we stratified the cohort into participants < 65 years old , 6575 years old , and > 75 years old at the beginning of BT. Among those < 65 years old, 5% of all observations reported a fall. This increased to 8% in those 6575 years of age, and 9% in those > 75 years of age. Over the initial course of BT, risk of falls increased by 2% each month for those < 65 years old , P= 0.0048) and > 75 years old , P= 0.0405), but no significant change was observed in participants between 6575 years , P= 0.2861) . During the COVID-19 lockdown, those > 65 years old experienced the greatest increase in the number of falls over time: 85% greater per month in those 6575 years of age , P= 0.0003) and 59% greater in those greater than 75 years of age , P= 0.0005). There was no significant change in risk of falling in those< 65 years of age during the lockdown , P= 0.0903). As a result, only those 6575 of age saw a significant reduction in risk of falling per month once BT was re-initiated after lockdown , P= 0.0085).

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Types Of Physical Therapy For Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease is a nervous system disorder that affects over 1 million Americans. This disease involves the part of the brain that controls movement. The main symptoms include tremors, muscle rigidity and difficulty with coordination, balance and walking.

Although there is no cure for Parkinsons disease, various treatments can relieve symptoms and help patients maintain their quality of life. Physical therapy is one form of treatment known to help individuals with Parkinsons disease increase mobility, strengthen their muscles, improve coordination and balance, and ultimately, remain independent. This post explores the different types of physical therapy and how to make the most of a rehabilitation program.

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Benefits Of Parkinsons Boxing

How boxing helps Parkinson

Above all, Parkinsons boxing therapy is a way to help people with PD better manage their symptoms in a fun and positive environment.

Parkinsons disease is a neurological condition that can cause tremors, muscular atrophy/rigidity, gait imbalance, and more. It is no surprise that people with these symptoms often experience issues doing daily activities that others may take for granted. Things like getting in the car or cooking yourself become much more challenging. Parkinsons boxing therapy classes aim to improve the physical and mental well-being of those participating by helping them live their best and most independent lives.

Some of the benefits people with PD receive from Parkinsons boxing therapy include:

  • Increased confidence in physical capabilities
  • A higher range of motion
  • Increased strength
  • More resilient to injuries
  • Increased Independence

When you are able to give back some level of physical movement and confidence to an individual with PD, you are helping give them back their everyday lives.

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High Intensity Exercise May Be Particularly Helpful

Its thought that high intensity exercise might be particularly beneficial for slowing the progression of PD.

In a 2014 study , researchers examined the benefits of high intensity physical therapy with gait training, strengthening, and perceiving cues on a group of 30 participants in the early stages of PD. They found that the exercise program stimulated increased levels of BDNF and had neuroprotective effects on cells that produce dopamine.

In a 2018 clinical trial , researchers found that a high intensity treadmill program where participants ran at 80 to 85 percent of their maximum heart rate three times per week saw no change in the severity of their symptoms over 6 months. Participants who exercised at a lower intensity had a worsening of symptoms.

Boxing Therapy For Parkinson’s Patients

At first it would seem that boxing and Parkinsons disease dont have a lot in common. However, if you ask physical therapist Lee Chow, he would tell you differently.

Chow, DPT, is one of the coordinators of the Power Punch for Parkinsons program, a class held at local boxing gyms and taught by boxing coaches and physical therapy students with the aim of providing a new and exciting exercise option for patients with Parkinsons disease.

Parkinsons disease is a neurological disorder characterized by slow movement, stiffness, uncontrolled shaking and difficulty with balance. An ideal exercise regimen for this type of disorder would incorporate quick movements, weight shifting fluid motion and focus. These are characteristics intrinsic to boxing, which also involves trunk and neck rotation, dual task activities and aerobic exercise, all of which are important in the management of the effects of Parkinsons disease.

Participants are also able to see progress, find social support and literally fight their disease, which keeps them coming back for more. Obviously, physical therapists couldnt help but get involved with this amazing combination.

Since then, there have been new classes added there an at several other locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Vail and other sites in Denver.

The program also provides an avenue for PT students to offer service in their communities and deepen their understanding of Parkinsons disease.

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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.

Bt Exercises And Performance Measurements

Parkinson’s Disease Exercises: Boxing

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

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    History Of The Role Of Exercise In Parkinsons

    The benefits of exercise in PD have not always been well characterized. Despite the American Academy of Neurology encouraging the use of exercise as an adjunctive therapy for Parkinsons patients in the 1990s , systemic reviews from the Cochrane collaboration released in 2001 found insufficient evidence to support or refute the efficacy of physiotherapy in PD . Although most of the individual trials analyzed in these reviews appeared to find a beneficial effect of physiotherapy, it was determined that many of the studies had methodological flaws and biases that prevented any firm conclusions of the validity of physiotherapy . Interestingly, this led to a situation in which physicians were instructed to encourage regular exercise, despite little evidence of its efficacy in slowing disease progression or improving activities of daily living .

    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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    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.

    Suzanne Taitingfong And Roland Campbell

    Boxing classes serve as therapy for those with Parkinsons

    Suzanne Taitingfong, age 60, was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease back in 2010, and at the time boxing wasnt even on her radar of potential workouts or hobbies.

    However, when the mother of three heard that fellow Parkinsons patients were having successful reactions to boxing, she was open-minded.

    I said, Well Im willing to give it a try, Taitingfong reasoned.

    Not only did she try, but Taitingfong became a pioneer in the world of boxing for Parkinsons patients. Her phone call to former professional boxer Brett Summers resulted in an entire new program at Summers Arlington, WA gym.

    Summers was passionate about the program from the start, since his uncle Roland Campbell is also living with Parkinsons disease. Campbell attends his nephews classes along with Taitingfong and whats become a large group of other loyal participants.

    Taitingfong, Campbell and their boxing classmates have experienced a slew of positive results. Perhaps most noteworthy is Campbells restored ability to walk backwards, something his doctors all said hed never do again.

    This is just one of the many reasons Taitingfong firmly believes Boxing and Parkinsons is a match made in heaven.

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    Senior Star: In Your Corner For The Fight Against Parkinsons

    Some Senior Star communities offer a program called Rock Steady Boxing. This non-contact physical therapy class is specifically designed to help people living with Parkinsons disease. Jessie Ritter, the program director at Senior Star Dublin, teaches seniors with the disease a new way to fight back. Since the program began, Jessie has witnessed the neuroprotective benefits of boxing therapy first hand. She has seen people in their 90s feel stronger and more empowered as a direct result of their participation in the Rock Steady Boxing class.

    At Senior Star, Rock Steady Boxing is just one of the many ways were determined to offer seniors a variety of innovative opportunities to support holistic health and overall well-being. We call them our Signature Programs, and were positive youll find something that inspires you. Contact us today for more information or learn more about the vibrant lifestyle options we offer.

    For Some Parkinsons Patients Boxing Can Be A Great Therapy

    No-contact boxing is a great full-body workout for just about anyone, but experts have found that boxing can actually benefit many people with neurological disorders, specifically, Parkinsons disease.

    Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological disease in the brain that triggers unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, dizziness, stiffness, difficulties with speaking, fatigue, loss of coordination, and falling.

    While there is no cure or way to stop symptoms from occurring, researchers believe that high-intensity exercise can slow the progression of Parkinsons by promoting neurological changes in the brain, as well as improve patients confidence. Boxing for Parkinsons helps people improve their coordination, agility, and balance. It is a physical way to fight back against Parkinsons.

    Once it was recognized that there could be a benefit for people with Parkinsons to practice boxing, the Boxing for Parkinsons program through Rock Steady Boxing Orange County was created. The program implemented high-intensity exercise with strength and cardiovascular conditioning so that participants dont take punches, they only throw them while focusing on agility and balance while avoiding overexertion.

    Boxing also seems to help with other neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis and people who have experienced a stroke.

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    Put The Support Of Peers In Your Corner

    One of the added benefits of taking boxing classes for Parkinsons is the people youll meet. They understand what youre going through and can be your biggest supporters. As one 71-year-old Rock Steady participant puts it: I no longer feel like the incredible shrinking woman PD seems to be trying to make of me. I feel gritty, tough, very much alive and, to quote Coach Steve, like one badass mofo.

    To learn about boxing classes at Brandon Wilde, and all the other ways we help residents stay fighting fit, check out ourWellness Program.

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    What Is Rock Steady Boxing

    Parkinsons Patients Seeing Improvements Through Boxing Therapy

    Rock Steady Boxing is a boxing program designed for people with PD, based on exercises that are adapted from the world of boxing that emphasize agility, speed, endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and strength. The exercises are meant to be vigorous and to push the participants beyond what they perceive they are capable of performing. Various levels of training have been developed to meet the needs of people with PD at different stages of the disease. Started at a gym in Indiana in 2006, Rock Steady Boxing developed a system to train fitness instructors across the country and now operates out of more than 870 affiliate locations worldwide. Those interested undergo a two-part Affiliate Training Camp an online course, followed by an interactive in-person or virtual-based hands-on training. Trained personnel can then set up an affiliate Rock Steady Boxing program.

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    How Can Occupational Therapy Help Parkinsons Disease

    For Parkinsons disease, occupational therapy generally provides assessment, treatment, and recommendations in the following areas:

    • Arm and hand therapy

    Throughout therapy, patients perform exercises like:

    • Lunging far out to the side
    • Sweeping their arms forwards and backwards
    • Rocking back and forth from heel to toe
    • Taking large steps

    The program is made specifically for people with Parkinsons disease. It uses the latest research to improve symptoms of the condition.

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    Who Is Parksions Boxing For

    While it should be no surprise that individuals diagnosed with PD receive the most benefit from taking the classes, many professions can also take advantage of this excellent exercise system. Here are a few of the occupations that could utilize Parkinsons boxing therapy.

    These professions can quickly implement Parkinsons boxing therapy into their current curriculum. This gives them an entirely new group of people to take on as clients, broadening their clientele. If they already have individuals they train with PD, this is a great way to provide them with a well-structured way to improve their clients lives.

    Rock Steady Boxing even certifies physical therapists, boxing coaches, rehab facilities, and other fitness and medical professionals who are excited about teaching the Rock Steady Boxing method in their communities.

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    Occupational Therapy Modifications For People With Parkinsons

    Along with physical exercises, occupational therapists often recommend modifications to help people living with PD maintain function and continue participating in daily activities. Modifications may include:1

    • Changing the nature, time, and duration of an activity
    • Simplifying activities by breaking complex actions into simple tasks
    • Arranging items to reduce situations that involve time pressure, like moving the telephone to an accessible location


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