Boxing Program Brings the Fight to Parkinson's Disease

Rock Steady, a nationwide nonprofit boxing program, is designed specifically to help alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease.

Have you ever walked into a room and thought "Yikes - this looks like a rough crowd?"

Was that room full of people battling Parkinson's disease?

I certainly wouldn't mess with them.

That's what I encountered when I stopped by Fit 4 Boxing Club in Allison Park, PA (about 20 min. north of Pittsburgh) to sit in on one of their Rock Steady classes, a non-contact boxing workout that helps folks battling Parkinson's disease. If it weren't for all the friendly, smiling faces, I'd've been pretty nervous being surrounded by 30ish people all expertly working the punching bags - Parkinson's or not.

Rich Mushinsky, the founder and owner of Fit 4 Boxing, first noticed the positive effect that boxing had on Parkinson's symptoms years ago, while training with his friend, the late Dr. Mike Bell, who was diagnosed with the disease. Some of the ways that boxing helps with Parkinson's (and remember, this workout is non-contact ) include improved balance, quicker reaction time, and relief from muscle stiffness.

"From the time I met [Dr. Bell] to three years of him training with me, he improved almost 100 percent - like he didn't even have Parkinson's."- Rich Mushinsky

So when Mushinsky discovered Rock Steady, he knew it was the perfect fit for his gym.

Take a quick peek into the atmosphere of a typical class:

What started as a small coaching session with Dr. Bell has grown to include over 400 participants - and that's only one gym! There are thousands of participants nationwide. Click here to find a class in your area.

Dr. Bell's legacy also lives on through the Dr. Michael Bell Punching Out Parkinson's Amateur Fight Night , which will be held this year on January 18.

Proceeds from this event go towards the Rock Steady classes, so if you're interested in helping out, email to find out about sponsorship opportunities!

Oh, and I know you all answered "no" to my opening question. It's well known that Sparkt readers are tough cookies.

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