About Parkinson’s

Referenced information below is from APDA.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive disorder of the central nervous system. It affects how your body moves and can also affect the way you think.  Approximately one million people in the USA have Parkinson’s.
Studies have shown that Parkinson’s patients who exercise regularly can improve gait, balance, tremor, flexibility, grip strength, and motor coordination.  It has been shown that the following exercises have proven to be beneficial to the Parkinson’s patients: Rock Steady Boxing, Tai Chi, Yoga, Cycling, and Walking.
The American Parkinson’s Disease Association has raised more than $170 million to provide outstanding patient services and educational programs to elevate public awareness about the disease, and support research designed to unlock the mysteries of Parkinson’s disease and ultimately to find a cure for this disease.
Click here to find out about Parkinson’s Foundation in Western Pennsylvania.  Or check in your local area for the local Parkinson’s Foundation.
Also, check out The Michael J. Fox Foundation.  His foundation has raised approximately $700 million for research in finding a cure for Parkinson’s.

Cycling | Yoga | Tai Chi



“A Cleveland Clinic research study discovered that forced exercise with Theracycle, three times a week for 45 minutes at 80-90RPM, has promises for countering, even delaying the inability to move, and improve mobility caused by the disease.


Yoga Therapy

The Michael J Fox Foundation reports:

“Yoga continues to rise in popularity and is cited as a favorite non-medical therapy by many patients living with Parkinson’s disease. Current studies suggest benefits in following areas; Mobility, Balance, Strength, Flexibility, Mood and Sleep.  Also, the use of music with Yoga movements has shown to improve endurance, range of motion, strength, and hand coordination.”

Tai Chi

WebMD reports:

“Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art involving a slow and rhythmic movement that has shown to benefit Parkinson’s patients by improving their body balance and strength. Tai Chi engages both mind and body, helps patients use the undamaged parts of their brain to compensate for the areas that normally control automatic movements such as walking. It’s all about pushing yourself past your limits and reaching that point where you did not think you could reach, you get runners high.  Your neurons start clicking, you get the new cells working, and everything works more effectively.

Researchers don’t know exactly how Tai Chi works to restore balance but they say it may work by literally re-training areas of the brain that control body movements.“

Check your local area health clubs for class schedule.


Aside from Rock Steady Boxing, walking is, and has always been, one of my favorite ways to exercise.  I go for a one hour daily walk six days a week.  I made this part of my morning routine.  I stretch for fifteen minutes, get ready, and go for my walk around eight AM.  Early morning walks are invigorating, especially during early cold winter days.  It is usually pretty quiet, only few people walking their dogs and a few school kids waiting for the bus.  It’s my time to focus on the day ahead, gather my thoughts, and now, think about what I’m going to write in my blog . Walking loosens up my legs, my feet, my arms, my back and my whole body.  I feel great after my walks.

Here is what University of Florida Health (UF College of Medicine) said about waking:

“Walking is an excellent exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease. First and foremost, it gets you outside and in the community! Walking can also be a great group activity to do with friends and family, or maybe it is just an opportunity to get outside and get some fresh air. In order to get more benefits from walking, make it purposeful: walk with BIG arm swings, heel strikes, and an upright posture. Practice balancing on different terrains and surfaces, and maintain balance when obstacles obstruct your path during your walk. Walk with an intention, but walk safely.”

Rock Steady Boxing


I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 70.  My Neurologist recommended Rock Steady Boxing and Walking as the best natural therapy to fight Parkinson’s — in addition to traditional treatment for Parkinson’s (Sinemet and Azilect).  A few months after my diagnosis I started “Rock Steady Boxing Pittsburgh” classes at the Fit4Boxing Club in Hampton Township, Pennsylvania.

Before you ask, no, we’re not punching each other.

I still remember my first class.  I was soaking wet from sweat.  They start every class with stretch exercises, for your legs, feet, waist, arms, shoulders, neck, wrist, fingers, and every part of your body.  Followed by running laps around the gym, sometimes replaced by rope jumping, or jumping jacks.  Only after all that do you put your gloves on and start punching the bags.

After the first day, I wondered whether or not I could continue at this intense pace, but I knew I had to push myself, so I signed up for an annual membership, and I’m glad I did.

They teach you all the basic boxing moves; left and right jabs, left and right hooks, and left and right upper cuts.  They also teach you proper foot shuffle, proper feet position, and proper waist moves to throw boxing punches effectively. While I wasn’t a boxing fan before, I’ve since gained an appreciation for the sport. This also helps you with the overall body balance in your daily activities.  We might throw 10 to 20 punches of each type, repeated by a few rounds of these boxing punches.

Oh, and we also yell out as loud as we can counting our punches, to practice projecting our voice. Speech impairment is a symptom of PD. I noticed my speech getting softer and softer and my wife was asking me to repeat myself more and more.

In between the punches you might have to do ten to twenty planks/pushups, and toe taps. For the cool down cycle we end the class with 10 to 20 sit-ups. We finish up the 60 minute class with group cheer “3-2-1, punch it out Parkinson’s”.

If you’re thinking this sounds like a lot, well, it is.

At the end of my first class, I was thinking there is no way I can keep up this pace.  I have not done some of these stretch exercises since my days on the high school track team. But I knew I had to push myself and stick with the program if I was going to fight Parkinson’s.  Now seventeen months later I am still working out at the Fit4Boxing Club, twice a week, sometimes three times, having fun and feeling better than I did before I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. And yes, the whole exercise program got much easier to handle.  It is still challenging but easier, and like I said I am feeling much better.

Here is what Rock Steady Boxing Association has to say about it.  “Rock Steady Boxing provides people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life based on a non-contact boxing fitness program.  These exercises are based on boxing drills.  Boxers condition to gain maximum agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand and eye coordination, footwork, and overall strength.  Scientific evidence suggests that this “forced intense exercise” is the most beneficial to the Parkinson’s patients.  Medical research has shown that forced intense exercise can reduce, reverse and delay Parkinson’s symptoms.”

Rock Steady Boxing originated in Marion County, near Indianapolis, Indiana in 2006.  Today there are over 480 Affiliated Rock Steady Gyms globally.  To find the closest Rock Steady Boxing class for your location go to:https://www.rocksteadyboxing.org/find-a-class