To box or not to box…What is the question?
As we arrive at Parkinson’s Awareness Week, I ask myself what is the one easy, fun, valuable and vital thing that we can all do and recommend to newcomers? Even though we’ve heard the answer many many times, it continues to be exercise, exercise and exercise. But then the question is what form does that exercise take.
Soon after my Parkinson’s diagnosis I would go to the gym and ride a stationary exercise bike. Pretty boring and one time I actually caught myself dozing off while on the bike – scary and stupid. Then I discovered the joy of non-contact boxing for Parkinson’s. Most people react with a look of shock and concern when I tell them I am taking boxing classes – but hey, no-one gets hit. What’s so good about boxing?
- It’s a great aerobic workout involving skipping rope, drills, squats and weights.
- It involves mind, brain and body as you focus on different punches and drills – aiming at the coach and his or her mitts. This combination of brain thinking and aerobic workout has been shown to be the optimal for Parkinson’s symptoms reduction.
- If you’re frustrated or mad at Parkinson’s – hitting a punch bag for several minutes really hard is a great way to let off steam and melt away stress and anxiety
And here’s the good news for those of us that now live in greater London – boxing for Parkinson’s is finally here in force. I used to live near San Francisco and I had a great coach and gym downtown. I have searched for a similar combination here in south east London and in the past few weeks a coach called Charlotte has set up a program at a gym in Peckham (her mother had Parkinson’s).
Another coach and gym owner by the name of John has offered to set up a program at his gym near Elephant and Castle station. He himself has Parkinson’s and last week hosted an open house with many YOPDs (Young onset PD). And other locations are likely as boxing takes off in the direction of becoming the King of Sports for Parkinson’s symptom reduction. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to find out more and/or take a look at this video:
And if boxing really isn’t your thing – other activities with similar benefits include tango dancing and table tennis.
So, don’t delay…box today!
PS – the featured image at the top of the page shows the boxers and coaches at John’s Gym.