BEECH ISLAND, S.C. (WJBF) – Day One Fitness is a non-profit organization serving people with neurological diseases and disorders through high intensity exercise.
For people with Parkinson’s, one exercise that helps a lot is boxing.
“Parkinson’s takes away your ability to tell your body what to do, where to put your feet, how to hold your hands, even how to stand up and walk. What boxing does is give you specific things you have to do and your mind has to tell your body to do it and if you’re executing it, it’s beneficial,” said Parkinson’s Patient, David Robinson.
Day One Fitness has a boxing program. It recently held an event called Neurology Boxing Day. It was a chance for Parkinson’s patients to become the coaches while their doctors became their trainees. Neurologists from Augusta University were on hand to witness the benefits of the program.
“We have about thirty or so of our patients with Parkinson’s who participate out here and they are looking to expand; to have more patients with Parkinson’s, as well as patients with Alzheimer’s disease and strokes. So, we wanted to check it out and see if this could be something that helps even more of our patients with neurological disease,” said Jeffrey Switzer D.O. the Chair of the Department of Neurology, MCG.
While the boxing helps patients with movement, it does so much more.
“I think, for one, it helps them with their balance and coordination, which is a problem as the disease advances. I also think it’s an awesome opportunity for them to come together with other patients who are suffering many of the same problems and form a community,” said Switzer.
“I think there’s something special here. I think it’s fun and fun things are motivating and also increase our dopamine and I think you just hit a lot of different aspects here,” said Julie Kurek, MD, Medical Director of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, MCG.
“It makes me feel good about myself and it helps me balance,” said Parkinson’s patient, Robert Olson.
“We wanted to start him early. That is the point of doing rigorous exercise is that you try to delay the progression. So, I would say that he has benefited so much from just coming. It won’t stop all of his symptoms, but it certainly helps him to manage them,” said Roberts wife, Kathy.
Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s can be difficult, but the people at Day One Fitness are working to prove that you can still live a great life.
“What I love about this with the boxing is that you go from feeling like this passively happened to you to being like a fighter and a warrior. I’m gonna be proactive, I’m going to do something about it, and you can see actual results now and down the line,” said Kurek.