The Rock Steady Boxing exercise program for individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is going strong at PWC! This unique program, created and established as a non profit in 2006, improves the ability of people with PD to live independent lives and has spread throughout the US through affiliates such as PWC. Our program launched in 2021.
Why boxing? Studies suggest that intense exercise classes such as boxing can be neuro-protective and actually work to delay the progression of symptoms. In 2014, the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health implemented a RSB program, noting that “in a study of RSB, participants who complete 12 weeks of training had measurable improvements in gait, balance and quality of life.”
A winning combination of data and experiences. The RSB program’s combination of data-supported results and client experiences intrigued the PWC management team. According to medical program leader Whitney Propps, “Rock Steady Boxing offers many participant testimonials that back up the research. It seemed like a great program to implement at PWC to help our members with Parkinson’s.” PWC director Eric Good adds, “Rock Steady fits well into our current line-up of medical fitness programs that help members keep active and control disease and also serve the community.” Such programs include nutrition counseling and FitScripts (a doctor-referred exercise program for chronic disease management), and fitness classes that target specific conditions such as arthritis.
PWC exercise specialist and personal trainer Bobby Zajkowski is RSB-certified to lead PWC’s program. In addition to his experience at PWC and familiarity with medical fitness programming, as a basketball coach for many years, Bobby brings valuable experience with training and motivation to this new role.
Speaking about his RSB training, Bobby observes, “Under the guidance of two veteran RSB coaches, my training group learned anything and everything, from the origins of boxing and Parkinson’s, to the right and safe way to box, to fun and interactive drills our clients can do. Homework tested how much we were learning. One of the requirements was to put together a workout to serve a particular client profile and report back the next day. The training offered examples of client experiences with PD that we might encounter as coaches and advised us on how to support clients in our program safely and effectively.”
What’s a workout like? With a focus on supporting the functions of daily life, the RSB workout targets hand-eye coordination, speed of movement, flexibility, core strength, agility, mental focus, mood and stress reduction. Workout segments may include bag work, drills, core work, calisthenics and circuit weight training. No boxing experience is necessary and there is no participant-to-participant contact.
RSB workouts accommodate all ages as well as different degrees of PD symptoms and fitness levels. Classes are designed to protect against injury. Participants in RSB find that taking a swing at PD in their group workout creates a community filled with camaraderie, sharing challenges and celebrating victories.
Schedule. PWC is offering a class in the group exercise room on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 pm in the group exercise room. On the third Tuesday of the month, participants enjoy a session in PATH Recreation & Fitness Center’s game room, which features ping pong and air hockey (this rec session follows a meeting of the Parkinsons Disease Support Group at 11:30 am; the support group is open to anyone interested). Prior to registering for RSB, participants will need their doctor’s referral. They will also need an evaluation with Bobby or Whitney prior to program participation.
Monthly pricing (2 classes/week): $50 for members and $100 for non-members (includes access to the facility).
Equipment: Participants will need some special equipment for class. A package price for boxing gloves, hand wrap, and an RSB shirt is $50.
Individual equipment purchase prices:
Gel gloves $20
Volunteers are very welcome in the PWC program! Volunteers may serve as a “corner person” to help support drills and monitor a participant’s need for hydration or a quick break during the workout. Take a look at our volunteer page.
Our thanks to the Culpeper Star Exponent for visiting our program; see article: Boxers slug effects of Parkinson’s disease
Watch the video below to see the Rock Steady Boxing program in action and learn about the program from its founder, participants and coaches.
Want to read more about boxing for Parkinson’s disease? Take a look at this Healthline article