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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

YMCA offers program for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease

April 12, 2017

ScriptFit client Jim Horning works with a boxing heavy bag. “Working on the slip bag has gotten me to move, and helps with hand-eye coordination,” Horning said.

Franklin County Family YMCA is offering a new addition to its ScriptFit program for clients who are battling Parkinson’s disease. Doctor-referred clients can now participate in non-contact boxing training that can offer improvements in symptoms and motor control. Boxing programs specifically for Parkinson’s patients have gained popularity nationwide in the last several years and research has found that such training offers many advantages over traditional exercise options.
A typical session of the Y’s Parkinson’s Boxing Club program consists of a warm up, strength, flexibility and balance exercises, and boxing drills. Participants work through different combinations of drills on a double end bag (a light bag suspended on an elastic cord), focus mitts (pads held by a trainer), the heavy bag, and slip bag (a light bag for practicing evasive work), arranged in timed rounds. Each workout emphasizes endurance, coordination and balance, according to individual client needs. The intensity of training can be adjusted for clients who may be suffering from other ailments or who are returning to exercise.
“After just a few weeks, clients in this group show significant improvements in movement quality,” Fitness Director Randy Simpson said. “Their stride looks smoother, they can work a bag for a full 3-minute round, and they start beating me to the punch on mitt drills. The best part is watching the look of surprise on their faces when they realize that they’re moving like a fighter — balanced, agile and confident. As a lifelong martial artist, I have serious respect for how hard they work to overcome their challenges.”
Moderate, sustained aerobic exercise has been shown to have protective benefits for the brain. Existing neurons are maintained, new neurons are created, cranial circulation improves, and memory and motor control are improved. Research has shown that non-contact boxing training has significant positive impacts on gait, balance, mobility, coordination, endurance, strength and movement quality. It also offers a challenging, fun option for people who don’t enjoy typical cardio exercise options.
“Y members can join the program by signing up for the Script Fit with a note from their doctor,” Simpson said. “The Boxing Club option is currently only available for Parkinson’s patients, but I’d love to offer it to other groups in the future. We’re seeking sponsors for equipment so that we can grow the program — with more bags and gloves we can expand our ability to offer this in a group format.”
For more information about ScriptFit, or about the Parkinson’s Boxing Club program, contact Randy Simpson, YMCA Fitness Director, at 489-9622. ( Franklin County,Virginia)

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