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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Boxing skills come in handy for people with Parkinson's

MIKE WATSON   August 6, 2017

Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley gloves up.

People living with Parkinson's are putting on the boxing gloves to fight back.
A small group of Taranaki people afflicted by the debilitating disease donned boxing gloves on Sunday for introductory training sessions at Jake Rapira's​ Box Office Gym in New Plymouth.
Around 13 people living with Parkinson's were taken through a series of drills by Rapira.

Dorothy Horwell hits the punching bag.

Some of the drills, such as parallels and diagonals, or co-ordinating alternative arm and leg movements, were used by former champions such as Mike Tyson to defend titles, Rapira said.
The session was a combined effort by Taranaki Parkinson's and Auckland-based Counter Punch Parkinson's.
People living with Parkinson's learn to fight back at Jake Rapira's Box Office Gym

"It is great to have something to be enthusiastic about, and being outside doing something," Dorothy Horwell said.
Taranaki Parkinson's chairwoman Ngaire Riley said the non contact boxing skills sessions were another option for sufferers to improve co-ordination, balance and rhythm.
​"It's challenging and it's fun and we hope it can meet the needs for many people who live with Parkinson's in Taranaki," she said.
"The training focuses on concentration and matching the physical and mental demands a person needs.
"I was resistant at first because I thought boxing was the last thing we wanted to do but the training is non contact and only uses the training skills of boxing."
The regional agency already offered regular yoga classes and walking groups for people living with Parkinson's.
"We are hoping the boxing sessions will appeal to a wide range of people across all ages," Riley said.
There was no specific cause for Parkinson's disease, she said.
"There is a higher incidence of people who have played contact sports having the disease but there are many other reasons.
"It's a horrible slow degenerative disease and these boxing sessions can give people the encouragement to fight it.
"The physical exercise can help them have a better quality of life."
Counter Punch Parkinson's founder and director Lisa Gombinsky Roach said the popular training courses at Shane Cameron fitness centres had spread throughout Greater Auckland and more centres such as New Plymouth had, or were about to adopt the course schedules.
"It's about giving people who live with Parkinson's disease the opportunity to fight back," she said.
Box Office Gym planned to include the training drills in its normal regular training schedules, Rapira said.
Parkinson's Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative condition caused by insufficient quantities of dopamine, a chemical in the brain, Parkinson's New Zealand website says.
Dopamine enabled quick and well co-ordinated movements and when levels fall these movements become slow and awkward.
The disease cannot be cured but can be treated.
Symptoms include shaking, slow movements and stiffness. 
Around 1 in 500 people, many over 65-years old, in New Zealand are afflicted with the disease.


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