Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Rock Steady Boxing Classes Provide Exercise, Therapy for Those with Parkinsons ; Amateur Pugilists Meet Mondays in North Charleston

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Rock Steady Boxing Classes Provide Exercise, Therapy for Those with Parkinsons ; Amateur Pugilists Meet Mondays in North Charleston

Article excerpt

People fighting Parkinsons disease dont pull many punches most Monday afternoons at the Hometown Heroes Boxing and Fitness Gym in North Charleston. The area Rock Steady Boxing group of 15 male and female stalwarts -- and sometimes more -- meets at 1 p.m. Mondays at the gymnasium at 1714 Seventh Ave., for 90 minutes of non-contact boxing led by trainers and coaches. Scott C. Newman, an Indianapolis man with early- onset Parkinsons disease at age 39, sowed the seeds for the Rock Steady Boxing program in 2006. He noticed his intense, high-energy, boxing- based exercise regimen improved his physical health, agility, daily functioning and quality of life significantly. After further development, Newmans Rock Steady Boxing Method was introduced widely four years ago. Approximately 90 Rock Steady affiliates operate in 25 states and abroad now. Advanced Physical Therapy Physical Therapist Jamie Tridico and Physical Therapy Assistant Tori Charley received Rock Steady Boxing training certification in Indianapolis. They work closely with the Charleston group, along with Hometown Heroes coaches Tony Dunlap and Ryan Fitzer. The Charleston affiliate launched its Rock Steady classes in mid-June. Hometown Heroes owner/operator Gary Toney didnt hesitate to offer his facilities for the effort. Connie Jones, who has Parkinsons, contacted me about a year ago about it, Toney said. Shed read about Rock Steady on the Internet; she does a lot of research. We had talked off and on, and Jamie contacted me about it. Its very interesting. I have sort of a special interest in it, because Ive had diabetes for 51 years, kidney disease for 10 years and a host of other things. I know what its like to live with a chronic disease. Parkinsons disease is a progressive, degenerative, neurological disease with no cure. It causes brain-to-muscle communication to erode over time, resulting in a loss of motor and non-motor function. According to Rock Steady Boxing data, 1.5 million Americans have Parkinsons. Its primarily for Parkinsons, Tridico said of the program, because theyve done studies that show forced, high-intense effort has been proven to show a delay in the progress of the symptoms. You see an improvement in their mobility and their balance, their ability to stand up straight when theyre walking, the ability to swing their arms. Theyre less likely to fall. Weve had two people say specifically after the class, they dont experience the tremors for at least the whole day. It helps overall quality of life. It gives you the endurance and stamina to do things, like play with your grandchildren, she said. They do basically everything a boxer does in his training, except sparring and jumping rope, although I think some of them can do the jump rope, Toney said. A former amateur boxer, Dunlap has taught at Hometown Heroes for nearly two years. I decided Id be better off training people, he said. I have a trainer I really like, a professional trainer named Freddy Roach who has Parkinsons and he still trains high-level guys. …

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