Boxers work to knock out Parkinson's symptoms
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — When Mary Yeaman was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2006, she could barely bring herself to leave her house. Her muscles were weak, and she was having a hard time coping.
"I've always done sports and stuff like that, and it was getting to be too much just sitting and doing nothing," she said.
In 2007, she found Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis. She now attends classes every week and has seen her symptoms ease as a result of a rigorous regimen of punching, jumping, jogging and stretching.
Kristy Rose Follmar spars with a class participant during a workout at Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Rock Steady boxing is a unique nonprofit gym that, since 2006, has offered a uniquely effective form of physical exercise to people who are living with Parkinson's. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
"It makes my muscles stronger. I can walk better," said Yeaman, 64.
Rock Steady, founded in 2006 by former Marion County prosecutor Scott C. Newman after he was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 40, gives people suffering from the disease an outlet to ease their symptoms and improve their physical fitness. Through boxing-inspired fitness classes, participants use exercise to slow the symptoms of a progressive neurological disease that causes tremors, muscle rigidity, loss of balance and cognitive, speech and vision impairment.
Mary Yeaman, left, and Instructor Kristy Rose Follmar use battle ropes to work out at Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. Rock Steady boxing offers a uniquely effective form of physical exercise to people who are living with Parkinson's. While focusing on overall fitness, workouts include: ring work, focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, jump rope, core work, calisthenics and circuit weight training. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
"Sometimes people get very discouraged when they are diagnosed with Parkinson's, understandably facing a disease that is progressive, that's going to worsen over time and that can take a big toll on them," said neurologist and Rock Steady board member Dr. S. Elizabeth Zauber.