The following is the story of Steve and his journey with Parkinson’s and getting involved with Rock Steady Boxing. This completes the Rock Steady Bocking series. We hope you enjoyed this four-part video series.
Steve had what he thought was a tremor for many years. “...people would come up to me and say, ‘do you have Parkinson's’? And I say, ‘No, it's just a tremor. Just a tremor’.” His tremor was later denounced after visiting a neurologist and being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Steve recounts the office visit when the doctor came in, “...opened up his folder and said, ‘yeah, you got it’ and closed the folder.” Steve replied with “wow,” nearly falling out of his chair in shock.
After receiving his diagnosis, Steve “..went into the pity potty for a while–several months.” Parkinson’s is a chronic illness and the onset of symptoms can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are doing it alone. Luckily Steve’s wife was incredibly supportive and persuasive in getting him involved with Rock Steady Boxing.
Steve said his wife “...kept pushing me, pushing me towards this (Rock Steady Boxing).” So as a “gift” to his wife, Steve agreed to attend a Rock Steady Boxing class for her birthday.
Steve and Rock Steady Boxing
Rock Steady Boxing Program Director Leah E. at The Palms of Largo said that at first, Steve “did not want to come. Halfway through his first class, he said ‘I can’t keep going. I’m done. I’m spent.”
Leah responded and said, “No worries, take a seat” and then she said, “just come back next time.” Steve said “Come back?!” to which Leah responded, “Yeah, come back. You're not done.”
Steve commented that while Leah was speaking with him, he was thinking, “They're trying to kill me. They're trying to kill me.”
No one was, in fact, trying to kill Steve, and much to Leah’s surprise, Steve did come back for the next session.
“And I came back and I came back and I still keep coming back,” shared Steve with pride.
Living with Parkinson’s disease requires courage, strength, and hope. The Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) program helps combat Parkinson’s symptoms, and build strength, mobility, and confidence. This non-contact boxing-based fitness program combines aerobic conditioning, boxing drills, balance exercises, core work, and stretching—all tailored to meet the needs of those living with Parkinson’s disease. Research shows that people who participate in the RSB classes have seen improvements in their physical abilities as well as their mental health.
How Does it Work?
The Rock Steady Boxing classes are designed to push participants physically while maintaining a focus on safety. Each class consists of warm-up/stretching exercises followed by aerobic conditioning exercises such as jumping jacks or running in place for 3 minutes; then about 15 minutes of partner drills; and finally some core work or yoga poses depending on the instructor's choice for class that day.
During class, participants will hit pads or heavy bags while learning proper boxing techniques like jabbing, uppercuts, and hooks. Everyone is also improving their balance through various exercises such as walking around chairs or stepping over cones laid on the ground.
What Benefits Can Be Expected?
More often than not, participants feel more confident after completing Rock Steady Boxing classes because they can do more than they could do before the classes. Steve is a prime example.
Leah shared that Steve “has come a long way from where he was to where he is today.” She notes that he has more stamina, never misses a class, and has even begun volunteering in some of Leah’s other classes.
Steve chimes in, “Physically I am in much better shape and mentally sharper too.”
Not only that, but Leah has noticed an attitude change, “...his shift in attitude not only has helped him here, but especially in life. He's out doing things with his friends. He's an avid golfer and he still golfs.”
Great coaches like Leah can make a huge difference to people, like Steve, who are dealing with chronic illness. Steve concludes that Rock Steady Boxing has “been a wonderful thing for me. It's really the best thing that could have happened.”
Everyone should consider incorporating some form of exercise into their daily routine—especially those living with Parkinson's disease. Rock Steady Boxing might be just the thing for you.