If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you already know that it’s a progressive neurological disorder that dramatically impacts mobility. What you may not know, however, is that some exercises are particularly effective in slowing the progression of the disease and can even help maintain quality of life. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of boxing therapy for Parkinson’s and how it works.
Hit Parkinson’s Where It Hurts: 3 Benefits of Boxing Therapy
Exercise of any kind is helpful to people with Parkinson’s disease because it can help improve everything from balance and mobility to an individual’s ability to perform the basic activities of daily living (ADLs). In fact, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation, research shows that getting at least two and a half hours of exercise per week is enough to slow the decline in a person’s quality of life. Let’s take a closer look at three of the biggest benefits of boxing therapy for Parkinson’s.
1. Boxing Therapy Improves Balance
A study published by the American Physical Therapy Association found that Parkinson’s patients who took part in two-to-three 90-minute boxing therapy sessions over a nine-month period showed clear improvements in both balance and gait.
How does it work? If you ask the best boxers in the world, they’ll tell you that the key to their success has nothing to do with how hard they can hit or even how quickly they can move. Instead, what you’re likely to hear is that success in boxing is closely tied to the ability to control your center of gravity – a core component of any good boxing therapy program.
2. Boxing Therapy Improves Mobility
Another thing you’ll notice about the most effective boxers is that they rarely stand still. The reason for this is simple – moving targets are harder to hit. Of course, boxing therapy for Parkinson’s isn’t about dodging incoming jabs, it’s about practicing mobility by stepping in multiple directions, changing speeds and staying light on your toes.
How does it work? Parkinson’s attacks both our mobility and agility – two traits boxers work to improve through their training routines. Boxing therapy for Parkinson’s is specifically designed to help strengthen these abilities.
3. Boxing Therapy Helps With Activities of Daily Living
The International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society sought to determine the impact of boxing therapy on Parkinson’s disease, including improvements to participants’ ability to perform ADLs. What they found was encouraging. On average, modest improvements in both ADL performance and motor skills were documented among the participants.
How does it work? Recent studies performed at The Cleveland Clinic show that certain types of exercise have “neuro-protective” benefits, including the ability to slow the progression of diseases like Parkinson’s. This may explain why boxing therapy for Parkinson’s is helping people maintain or improve their quality of life.
Senior Star: In Your Corner for the Fight Against Parkinson’s
Some Senior Star communities offer a program called Rock Steady Boxing. This non-contact physical therapy class is specifically designed to help people living with Parkinson’s disease. Jessie Ritter, the program director at Senior Star Dublin, teaches seniors with the disease a new way to fight back. Since the program began, Jessie has witnessed the neuroprotective benefits of boxing therapy first hand. She has seen people in their 90s feel stronger and more empowered as a direct result of their participation in the Rock Steady Boxing class.
At Senior Star, Rock Steady Boxing is just one of the many ways we’re determined to offer seniors a variety of innovative opportunities to support holistic health and overall well-being. We call them our Signature Programs, and we’re positive you’ll find something that inspires you. Contact us today for more information or learn more about the vibrant lifestyle options we offer.