Can Boxing Help People Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease?

Two new articles say yes.

By | Hub Health |
Photo via shutterstock

Photo via shutterstock

Parkinson’s Disease currently affects more than 1.5 million Americans and there is no cure. But there’s a new therapy that seems to be helping ease the¬†symptoms,¬†and for some patients it’s a mobility saver.¬†Is it a new, high-tech, and¬†expensive¬†treatment? No, it’s good, old-fashioned boxing. Recently both USA Today and the Sun-Sentinel wrote articles touting boxing as a way to help ease the symptons of Parkinson’s Disease.

USA Today reports:

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.¬†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.

The Sun-Sentinel reported:

Dr. Carlos Singer,¬†a¬†Broward County¬†neurologist, said any regular exercise, whether high or low impact, can help increase levels of substance in the bloodstream that has to do with nerve cell growth.¬†Although he hadn’t heard of boxing therapy, he noted that exercise ‚ÄĒ whether it’s walking, dancing or shadow boxing ‚ÄĒ can improve a Parkinson’s patient’s gait, stamina, energy level and overall quality of life.

While doctors and¬†instructors¬†recommend against¬†getting¬†hit in the head, exercise has been shown to help Parkinson’s sufferers.¬†Patients with Parkinson’s disease can improve walking, muscle strength, and fitness with moderate exercise, a study published in the¬†Journal¬†of¬†Neurology¬†finds. The central nervous system disorder makes walking troublesome for many¬†sufferers, but moderate exercise may help preserve mobility, the researchers said.

Do you know someone with Parkinson’s? How has exercise helped them?

 

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/blog/2013/04/29/boxing-parkinsons/