Local gym helps in fight against Parkinson’s

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s Disease, studies show boxing can alleviate some symptoms. Eyewitness News reporter Anja Whitehead stopped by a local gym to learn how.

For people living with Parkinson’s Disease, they can have tremors, poor balance, or slow movement. Studies show boxing can be a way to slow down those symptoms and gain strength.

“Someone with Parkinson’s is having a lot of stiffness and rigidity and a boxer needs to be flexible so we work on flexibility. A boxer needs to have good balance in the ring. People with Parkinson’s struggle with balance so we do balance activities,” owner and coach of Rock Steady Boxing Northeast PA Kathy Reap said.

This style of boxing at Rock Steady Boxing Northeast PA is non-contact, so the boxers are practicing on heavy bags or in a mirror. Practicing in this way has shown huge improvements for those with Parkinson’s Disease.

“The greatest thing is they are finding that intense exercise slows the progression of the disease down. So for those people, they are doing something really good to stay in charge of this and not let Parkinson’s take control of them,” Reap said.

For those who participate in these exercises, they are able to go at their own pace with no judgment. Many have seen benefits already.

“It’s built my strength up. I feel a lot better and I feel positive when I’m here performing,” Donny Dodgson of Dunmore said.

“I was very slow and very stiff and I had trouble walking because I don’t swing my arms. I learned to walk swinging my arms and one of the things I could never get up off the floor and I can get off the floor now,” Joan Kramer of Taylor said.

And being around others fighting Parkinson’s is a way to feel less alone.

“The biggest thing, is all the people who are here with us all have Parkinson’s so we all have a lot in common and we talk a lot about our problems and what goes on,” Dodgson said.

For anyone who wants to learn more about how boxing can help with Parkinson’s Disease, Rock Steady Boxing is having an open house Saturday at 2 p.m. at their location along Albright Avenue in Scranton.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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