If you told me six months ago that I would be going to boxing classes and loving it, I never would have believed you. But having PD can encourage you do things that are out of your comfort zone.
Last November, I attended a Partner’s in Parkinson’s conference in Pasadena sponsored by the Michael J Fox Foundation. I had read about a boxing program that started in Indiana for persons with PD that was quite effective. Several vendors were at the conference advertising their Boxing for PD programs and I even got to put on boxing gloves and spar with one of them. But the thing that impressed me most was in one of the sessions where a young woman with Young Onset PD told her story about how boxing literally saved her life. The buzz at the conference was all about boxing.
In January, the Rock Steady Boxing NY/LA program started in Santa Monica, so I thought I would give it a try. I am in pretty good shape, I go to the gym for yoga several times a week, play tennis, bike, etc. But boxing, by far, was the hardest thing I have ever done. Our instructor, Lauren, put us through what she said were 3 minute rounds on the punching bags, speed bags and sparring. I think her clock lied and those rounds were much longer. At least they felt much longer. But it was a lot of fun, and it is exhilarating. Boxing trains your reflexes and coordination, improves your balance and your overall fitness level. And it is hard work. I now have new appreciation for those boxers who last for 15 rounds. I don’t think I could make it through 1. Recently our class moved to BoxNBurn in Santa Monica and Brentwood, which has boxing rings in addition to the usual equipment. Lauren put us through some of our moves in the ring, giving us a different perspective on what we are doing.
The best part is that we have all bonded quickly in the class. After all, we have one thing in common: Parkinson’s Disease. And when we get into the boxing ring, we all feel like champions.