Parkinson's patients battle disease by boxing

A group of patients in Southern California is fighting Parkinson?s disease in part by fighting each other.
December 27, 2013 2:22:05 PM PST
A group of patients in Southern California is fighting Parkinson's disease in part by fighting each other. It's an innovative program that incorporates boxing as part of their physical therapy.

Since Deloris Nouhan took up boxing four months ago, the 79-year-old has noticed big changes.

"My back is straight again and I'm walking with better swing and my balance is a lot better," she said.

Nouhan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a year ago, credits the program Rock Steady Boxing for slowing the progression of the neurological disease. The symptoms often include shaking and slowness of movement.

Twice a week, Nouhan and others who share the same challenge work out for 90 minutes at a gym in Southern California. No one gets hit in this boxing program. Ann Adams brought it here from Indianapolis after seeing how it helped her own father, who has Parkinson's, and used to use a wheelchair.

"I watched him get better and better, very agile, dancing around in class," Adams said.

There is research that shows it's not just boxing but also traditional forms of exercise, such as stretching and aerobic training that can help with balance and mobility.

Ron Addison says boxing is different from other exercises he's tried.

"It's the most beneficial type of thing that I've found for overall wellness," he said.

The classes, based in Costa Mesa, cost about $120 a month.

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