Boxing program in Costa Mesa helps those with Parkinson's disease

A gym in Costa Mesa is helping people fight Parkinson's disease one punch at a time with a boxing program.
October 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a new and interesting way to fight a debilitating disease: a gym in Costa Mesa is helping people fight Parkinson's disease one punch at a time.

Since Deloris Nouhan took up boxing four months ago, the 79-year-old has noticed big changes.

"I was walking stooped over. My back is straight again," said Nouhan. "I'm walking with better swing and my balance is a lot better."

Nouhan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease a year ago, credits the program "Rock Steady Boxing" to slowing the progression of the neurological disease. The symptoms often include shaking and slowness of movement.

Twice a week, Nouhan and others who share the same challenge work out for 90 minutes at American Gym in Costa Mesa.

"Their agility, their balance -- all of that is so much more improved," said Anne Adams, a Rock Steady Boxing coach.

No one gets hit in this boxing program. Adams brought the program here from Indianapolis after seeing how it helped her own father, who has Parkinson's and used to use a wheelchair.

"I watched him get better and better, very agile, dancing around in class," said Adams.

There is research that shows it's not just boxing, but also traditional forms of exercise, such as stretching and aerobic training, that can help with balance and mobility.

Ron Addison of Corona del Mar says boxing is different from other exercises that he has tried.

"It's the most beneficial type of thing that I've found for overall wellness," said Ron Addison.

The classes cost $120 a month. Many say they're here not just for the exercise, but for the camaraderie.


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