Mount Kisco Gym Puts Parkinson’s Patients First
Lexington Avenue Gym’s innovative class focuses on providing Parkinson’s sufferers an opportunity to knock out symptoms
Photos courtesy of Lexington Avenue Gym and Rocksteady Boxing
It may seem like Parkinson’s patients are fated to passively deal with the range of debilitating symptoms that arise from this central nervous system disorder. However, one Mount Kisco gym is stepping in to aid those stricken by this surprisingly common illness with new classes aimed at allowing them to strike back. Lexington Avenue Gym has signed on to offer Rock Steady Boxing classes, where Parkinson’s patients can punch, jump rope, and lifts weights in an accepting and encouraging atmosphere.
Rock Steady Boxing’s program originated when a retired attorney found that boxing improved his Parkinson’s symptoms. According to Sarah Todd PT, DPT, CLT Manager of Outpatient Rehab at Northern Westchester Hospital, such classes can indeed offer some relief.
"For patients with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders, maintaining a level of strength and endurance is important in order to keep them functioning,” says Todd. “Rocksteady boxing offers persons with Parkinson’s the ability to participate in a program that helps maintain these levels and promote mobility. Boxing activities offer the advantage of rhythmic movements which have been shown to help counteract some of the tremors and help to promote reciprocal movements which counteract the stiffness."
Those who have attended the class agree that the boxing, jump roping, and weightlifting sessions have improved their overall quality of life. “Every stretch, lift, and punch improves my agility, strength, flexibility, and range of motion,” says class-member Sally Schwab-Honig, who also happens to be an assistant dean at New York Medical College. “Since I started, I feel stronger and more secure and confident in my movements. I especially love how thoughtful and positive my trainer is and in just six months of the boxing program I feel like I’m combating this disease.”
Nina Preizler, the owner of Lexington Avenue Gym as well as a Rock Steady Boxing Instructor, notes that the program "has given my clients a supportive environment where they feel empowered in striking back at their illness. This boxing program not only helps diminish symptoms, but also instills confidence and hope.”
While John Wieland, a trainer and Rock Steady Boxing Instructor at Lexington Avenue Gym, has similarly seen a great deal of improvement in his clients. “The Rock Steady program has become very important to me,” he says. “These members are a truly dedicated and determined bunch and seeing them improve in strength and movement week to week is extremely satisfying.”