WRITTEN BY NICOLE DEIORIO, MARKETING INTERN
Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) is the first boxing program of its kind dedicated to fighting back against Parkinson’s disease (PD). Founded in 2006 by former Marion County (Indiana) Prosecutor, Scott C. Newman, he started the program when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 40. He knew he found a program that worked when his high intensity workouts started fighting back against his disease.
Boxing is proven to be the most physically demanding training program out there! RSB is a non-contact boxing inspired class that can reverse, reduce, or even delay the symptoms of PD. It helps fight against tremors, problems with coordination, and the regression of motor skills.
Organized by Zone Health & Fitness’s owner, Ben Marciano, and personal trainer, Kevin Sinning, the pair desired to bring help to their local community. With the closest RSB gym in the Villages, Zone East’s launch of Rock Steady Boxing makes it the perfect middle ground!
More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and 60,000 new people diagnosed each year, affecting the quality of life for a significant portion of Americans. PD is a degenerative movement disorder which can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech, and sensory functions.
Throughout the years, numerous studies have been conducted in search of a cure. With a healthy diet and lifestyle change, the symptoms of Parkinson’s can be reduced, but a cure is still a few years away. For now, studies have shown it’s best to focus on rigorous exercise that strengthens motor skills, balance, and core strength to significantly raise quality of life.
At Zone Health and Fitness, boxers work to achieve agility, speed, coordination, and strength. At Rock Steady Boxing, those suffering from PD can partake in rigorous exercise meant to stretch their mind and body. In fact, forced exercise may be neuro-protective in that it slows the diseases’ progression. RSB created training programs to meet the fitness levels of those at all stages of Parkinson’s – from the newly diagnosed to those who’ve been living with it for years.
RSB emphasizes non-contact boxing. A typical program runs through stretching beforehand to loosen the participant’s muscles. Fit for those with early or advanced stages in Parkinson’s, RSB focuses on scaling the workouts to fit the needs of its users. Speed bags are lowered, and floor mats can be used for those in wheelchairs.
Parkinson’s runs on the “use it or lose it” principle. People don’t realize when they start speaking softer, shuffling their feet, or losing range of motion. To combat losing vital functions, RSB focuses on vocal exercises, stretching, and balance movements.
To get into the program, participants must undergo an assessment to determine their placement within a class, and pay a small fee that covers the boxing gloves, wraps, jump rope, and all other equipment. The assessment determines the participant’s range of motion and motor function to place them within a class that would benefit their level of mobility.
The boxer’s care partner is encouraged to participate in the class. The program reinforces how to help their partner if they fall or need to be moved from one location to another. RSB teaches the participant how to fall and get back up without injuring themselves.
Parkinson’s disease hinders a person’s social life to the point that many suffer from depression and feelings of isolation. Rock Steady Boxing gives individuals a creative environment to open up to others, and spend time socializing outside the house.
Those suffering from PD can regain their motor skills and sense of adventure. Life doesn’t need to change for the worse! Consistently partaking in Rock Steady Boxing will help those with PD not feel like their life dramatically shifted.
If you or someone you love has PD, talk to the front desk to schedule a time to get plugged in! Zone desires to see lives changed.