Can Boxing Help People Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease?

Two new articles say yes.

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 — whether it’s walking, dancing or shadow boxing — 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?