A New Parkinson’s Exercise Class Opens Near My Dad
“Mary Beth, I’ll be starting a new Parkinson’s exercise class this week,” my dad told me early one morning.
Before COVID-19 hit, Dad was religiously taking Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) classes at a local facility. But the pandemic forced that particular location to close permanently, leaving my dad without a Parkinson’s-specific exercise class to attend.
When my family heard the news, we attempted to find other RSB classes nearby. But the closest one was 40 minutes away, and we knew that much driving was out of the question for my dad.
But after nearly two years of quarantine and limited gym access, my dad was excited to restart an exercise routine. He finds it challenging to stay enthusiastic about at-home workouts, so returning to a facility had him chomping at the bit.
While Dad was at Rock Steady Boxing, it was as if he was taking his frustrations with Parkinson’s out on the punching bags. He was able to work out the emotions that he typically kept inside. I hoped that his new exercise class would provide the same type of catharsis, and that Dad would benefit from the new routine. I’ve often relied on regular physical activity for stability in my life.
When I asked him what kind of exercise he’d be exploring, Dad told me that the class focused on stretching and mobility, and would meet twice a week. I know that he’d go back to a boxing class if he had the option. But mobility is important for him, too.
I also wondered if the variation in exercise type might help him to challenge muscles groups that he wouldn’t otherwise be working. The body seems to adapt to exercises over time. For this reason, I often switch up my fitness activities to gain well-rounded strength. I hoped that Dad would be able to do this, too.
After Dad’s first class, he told me that it was nice to see some of his friends again. I realized that he not only lost an exercise class when the virus struck. He also lost consistent connection with his Parkinson’s community.
A few weeks into his new program, he told me that the class had been temporarily shut down. One participant tested positive for COVID-19, and the administrators wanted to do everything they could to prevent the transmission of the virus.
I’m still happy that my dad has been able to return to a community of supportive people who are eager to help him and others fight Parkinson’s — even if it means occasionally shutting down the class to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.