This Month’s Featured PD Gladiators: Kathy Shoji and Betsy Gaydos Do It At The Y

YMCA PD GladiatorsBetsy Gaydos (pictured in the black shirt) and Kathy Shoji (orange shirt, back row) are taking full advantage of all the YMCA has to offer for people with Parkinson’s. The two PD Gladiators took part in the Fulton County Golden Games last month with fellow players from the Ed Isaakson YMCA and got bronze medals (3rd place) for pickleball for women 65 and older.

Betsy and Kathy regularly participate in the Parkinson’s Movement Classes at the  Ed Isaakson Y in Alpharetta every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 – 1:50PM, where they work on balance, core strength, stretching, etc. “The instructors know our strengths and weaknesses and guide us both as a group and individually on our various levels,” Kathy says. “The social interaction is very good and as important as the physical part of  the class–a factor in encouraging regular attendance and sharing information.”

While Kathy and Betsy take advantage of the classes’ PD-specific workout, they get much more out of their YMCA memberships. “We’re both hooked on pickleball and play every chance we get,” Kathy says. “The benefits of both are outstanding, but pickleball stands out because we feel ‘normal’ when we play and we fit in with the non-Parkinson’s people playing. However bad I may feel or look when I arrive for pickleball, I will feel much better and energized very soon.”

The 65 and older women’s pickleball team plays four or more times per week at the Y and other venues. In addition to getting a great cardiovascular workout, the dynamic duo have improved their strength and balance and have made many new friends of all ages. Kathy feels that the Parkinson’s Movement Classes also complement her pickleball game. For example, during a game a few weeks ago, she briefly lost her balance but did a triple spin before recovering without falling, a maneuver she attributes to the exercises she does in class.

Please visit the PD Gladiators website to learn more about the PD Gladiators at the Y program and to find a location near you. People with Parkinson’s who join the Y through the PD Gladiators website link receive a reduced membership rate.

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