Knocking Out Parkinson's

February 9, 2009 5:38:42 PM PST
A million people in the United States are living with Parkinson's disease, a neurological condition that causes shaking and jerky movements. It's what kept beloved boxing champion Muhammad Ali out of the ring. Patients with movement difficulties are now trying the same sport Ali mastered -- with knockout results.The boxing class lead by certified personal trainer Craig Marks is not your typical boxing class.

"Once you see that glove go on, you're just free, and you just pound away," class participant Bonnie Cohen told Ivanhoe.

All the athletes in Marks' class have Parkinson's disease. Marks developed the intense program to help his late father fight the disease.

"He was able to get up and walk around again," Marks, who works at Tag Team Partners in Davie, Fla., told Ivanhoe. "He was able to take care of himself."

Three days a week, the gym is filled with Parkinson's patients.

"The goal is constant motion," Marks said. "We don't want to give anybody time to rest if we don't have to."

Cohen was diagnosed at age 30.

"It's given me more balance and a lot more strength," she said.

Abe Taback, diagnosed 16 years ago, feels like a new man after being involved in the class.

"I notice my balance is a little bit better," Taback told Ivanhoe. "I'm walking better."

Studies show exercise can protect brain neurons from ongoing damage caused by Parkinson's disease. It also improves balance and coordination. Participant Elaine Simon says she's regained her energy.

"You know how Rocky climbed those steps and went to the top?" Simon told Ivanhoe. "That's the way I feel."

The class focuses on boxing but includes a host of challenging exercises.

"Our goal is to see if we can try to keep it under control or see if we can slow the progression by doing these different exercises," Marks said.

Another benefit for boxers in the class is knowing they're not alone.

Research shows other forms of exercise also helps prevent Parkinson's disease. One Harvard University study shows men who exercise at least twice a week when they're younger reduce their risk of developing Parkinson's when they're older by 60 percent.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Craig Marks, CPT
Tag Team Partners
Davie, FL(954) 707-9175
craig@tagteamforlife.org
http://www.tagteamforlife.org
http://www.pdf.org/

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