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HEALTHBEAT 4: ‘Rock Steady Boxing’ gives back to Parkinson’s patients

SIOUX CITY (KTIV) –  Nearly one million people will be living with Parkinson’s disease in the United States next year, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

Parkinson’s disease a neurodegenerative disorder with no known cure. Symptoms generally develop slowly over the years, but people with Parkinson’s disease may experience tremors, balance and movement problems, and limb rigidity among others.

In Sioux City hearts are pumping and fists are flying at the “Rock Steady Boxing” class.

The program looks to give people with Parkinson’s Disease hope, by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing based fitness curriculum.

“Boxing has great agility, balance, strength, endurance training,” said Patrick Tomscha, Executive Director of the Siouxland Center for Active Generations.

Those are all skills impacted by Parkinson’s, but now they’re hitting back against the disease.

From punching bags to resistance bands to boxing gloves, these fighters are getting a full-body workout.

For about a month, ten boxers living with Parkinson’s disease have been working on posture, balance, agility, speed, and hand movements at the Siouxland Center for Active Generations.

“They really wanted to be up and going and having something in our community to help them with their disease process,” said Tomscha. “It’s been a great opportunity for them to get together, to have a little community, to be able to share their disease process and their journey, and to help each other through the process.”

Because the bigger your support system is, the better your chances are of fighting this disease.

“I think it maintains their independence,” said Tomscha. “It maintains their hope that they can help fight this disease as long as possible and to live independently and to do the things that most of us take for granted.”

Tomscha said once someone gets diagnosed with Parkinson’s they should get on an exercise program right away to help stabilize some of the symptoms.

He said they hope to expand the Rock Steady Boxing class at Siouxland Center For Active Generations to 30 or 40 boxers.

Michaela Feldmann

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