CBS News Features Boxing Training Program for Parkinson’s
Posted on November 18, 2015 | By Larry Kahn | 2 responses
In case you missed it, Lesley Stahl ran a story on CBS News Sunday Morning about the Rock Steady Boxing Training Program for Parkinson’s Disease. The story shows the anecdotal evidence that these noncontact boxing training programs improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s, but it also includes an interview with a researcher who has shown that the intense exercise, together with the strength, flexibility, balance and agility training these programs incorporate, can slow disease progression or even improve the fighters’ symptoms. You can view the video story or read the transcript here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fighting-back-against-parkinsons-in-the-ring/
If you are interested in a similar program in Atlanta, the PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network includes a Boxing Training for PD program operated by Livramento Delgado Boxing Foundation in Sandy Springs. Paul Delgado, the program’s lead trainer, trained at Rock Steady and has made this the Network’s most popular fitness program adapted for people with Parkinson’s. Interest has grown even more in the wake of the CBS News story.
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of the CBS News piece regarding the clinical research:
“Stephanie Combs-Miller, the director of research at the University of Indianapolis’ College of Health Sciences, conducted the first major study on the effects of boxing therapy on Parkinson’s. “When these people with Parkinson’s disease step in that gym and they’re being yelled at by a coach, they’re no longer a person with Parkinson’s disease. They’re a fighter. They’re a boxer,” she said. “And that’s the difference. They don’t feel that disease anymore.
“We studied people over a two-year period who participated in boxing and we didn’t see any progression of the disease in the people that boxed.”
“It arrested the disease?” asked Stahl.
“Right. In fact, in some cases, they were better after the two-year period of time. Their function was better.”
Dr. Combs-Miller said the high intensity-type exercises can be neuro protective. “It enhances the uptake of the dopamine in the brain. It can improve growth of neurons.
“All the evidence we have now shows that, with exercise, particularly high-intensity exercise, we can improve strength. We can improve their walking ability and their balance and their quality of life. And likely, we’re also seeing changes within the brain as well.”
She says that one of the patients she studied, Tom Timberlake, shows what Rock Steady can do. “He’d had Parkinson’s disease about six years and had really declined in health. Had almost become a recluse, wasn’t getting out. Found Rock Steady, started in. Nine years later, you wouldn’t recognize him. He is a fighter. And he is better today in 2015 than before he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He’s better now than before he was diagnosed.
“It saved his life.”
Nobody’s saying boxing is a cure — just that people seem to improve.”
The PD Gladiators Metro Atlanta Fitness Network offers over 40 weekly classes adapted for people with Parkinson’s (and their care partners), including four boxing training classes at Delgado Boxing Gym in Sandy Springs. In addition, the YMCA offers Parkinson’s Movement Classes in several metro Atlanta branches and independent instructors offer Ageless Grace, Dance for Parkinson’s, General Fitness, Tai Chi, Yoga and Zumba. Many of these classes can be performed seated or standing and all are taught by instructors who have received PD-specific training to assure safety and effectiveness.