YMCA of Metro Atlanta Expands PD Gladiators at the Y Program to Include 25 Parkinson’s Movement Classes in 17 Branches

YMCA Parkinson's Exercise Classes AtlantaThe YMCA of Metro Atlanta is expanding the PD Gladiators at the Y program, with 25 Parkinson’s Movement Classes offered in 17 branches. New branches participating include the Covington Family YMCA (beginning 4/15), the East Lake Family YMCA, the Northwest Family YMCA ( in Kennesaw), the G. Cecil Pruett Community Center Family YMCA (in Canton, beginning 4/6), the Andrew & Walter Young Family YMCA (in southwest Atlanta) and the Wade Walker Family YMCA (in Stone Mountain, beginning 4/6). CLICK HERE for class times and more information!

Recent scientific literature supports the conclusion that vigorous and varied exercise improves the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease and may even slow the progression of PD. The YMCA of Metro Atlanta has teamed up with PD Gladiators to offer a package of PD-specific exercise classes and support that will help people with Parkinson’s design a personal exercise program. Most YMCA branches are offering Parkinson’s Movement Classes, as well as the Y’s proprietary exercise adherence program, THE COACH APPROACH®, free to all YMCA members. These classes are designed for individuals at all stages of PD wanting to work on cardiovascular fitness, balance, strength and flexibility as well as particular PD impairments. Movements can be done in a chair as well as standing and at an intensity level that is self-selected by each participant.

“I love the lively pace and wide variety of movements,” says Mike Velgouse, a regular participant in the Parkinson’s Movement Classes at the Forsyth Family YMCA. Mike feels like he is getting a vigorous workout, but it never gets routine. “Our instructor comes up with new ‘stuff’ for every session. She also plays some great old music to help keep us moving and singing.”

Randall Vaughn has had a similar experience at the J.M. Tull-Gwinnett Family YMCA in Lawrenceville. “Great facility with enthusiastic instructors providing fun classes,” he says. “The instructors are very conscious about promoting personal safety and limitations. That being said, the classes provide both a physically and mentally challenging workout. The variety of music rhythm, exercise moves and constantly-changing work out speeds challenges everyone to extend their own limits.”

Mike and Randall both enjoy exercising with their Parkinson’s peers and feel like they are getting symptom relief from their exercise routines. “I have increased my flexibility and endurance since I started, reducing pain, stiffness and fatigue, “ says Randall. “The physical and mental stimulation has helped with my balance and coordination (even though I still have the rhythm of a brick!), and the exercise and social interaction improve my mood and both my public and self-confidence.”

Your YMCA membership entitles you to visit any branch, so you can participate in Parkinson’s Movement Classes at as many different locations as you want. Call or visit any branch to receive a free guest pass if you’d like to try a class before joining. Visit the YMCA page on our website to join the YMCA at a reduced membership rate. The YMCA also has financial assistance available for those in need.

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