How Boxing Helps the Fight Against Parkinson’s Disease

Senior woman boxing a punching bag.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative movement disorder that causes symptoms like shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination. While there is no known cure for Parkinson’s so far, research has helped us understand possible causes, symptoms and treatment options. Learning about Parkinson’s disease and the treatment options available can help you or your loved one maintain an active, healthy lifestyle despite the physical effects of this condition.

Boxing as Physical Therapy for Parkinson’s

Physical therapy is all about moving the body and building core strength. Some doctors prescribe specific sports as a type of physical therapy, including boxing. Because Parkinson’s disease causes a loss in many of the same elements that boxers condition to improve, benefits from boxing exercises also extend to fighting the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Recent medical research has shown that forced, intense exercises like those included in boxing can reduce, reverse and even delay symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Here are Some Ways That Boxing Can Help Combat Parkinson’s Disease:

• Boxing builds your person’s core strength, keeping you active and moving.
• Boxing trains you to remain balanced, which is a common problem with Parkinson’s patients.
• Repeated motions of punching and moving can help reduce the feeling of rigidity in the limbs.
• Some boxing exercises require focus on striking certain areas, which helps focus and improving cognitive functioning.
• A good boxing workout will also keep blood flowing through your body, which can help your inner muscles like the lungs and heart.

Other Treatments for Parkinson’s Disease

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are several treatment methods that can stave off the effects of the disease. Doctors will usually prescribe medication to help with physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Other treatments involve different levels of therapy (physical and occupational to name two) that focus on your ability to perform daily living tasks.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Parkinson’s?

One common belief is that the cause of Parkinson’s disease is the body’s inability to produce dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical that controls physical movement. When cells that produce dopamine are impaired, less of the chemical is produced, leading to loss of physical control.

Parkinson’s disease develops differently in people, but there are some symptoms that are common in those affected. People with Parkinson’s typically experience a decrease or unexpected change in physical movement. This can include tremors (especially with hands at rest), rigid limbs, balance problems that can lead to falls, and difficulty speaking or chewing.

There are also some mental and emotional symptoms that may occur as a result of Parkinson’s, which can include:

  • apathy
  • depression
  • sleep disorders
  • cognitive impairment

Rock-Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s at Peabody

The Rock Steady Boxing program at Peabody Retirement Community is a great way to stay active and help combat the effects of Parkinson’s, or even delay the symptoms entirely. Sessions are led by our Wellness Director at the Billie Jean Strauss Wellness Center, and we are dedicated to helping participants improve speed, strength, balance and flexibility. Some of the specific benefits of the program include increased range of motion, better flexibility, posture and gait, and an improved quality of life. For more information about Rock Steady Boxing and treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, please contact us today.

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