Punching Parkinson’s in the Fraser Valley

Rock Steady Boxing program, designed to help battle symptoms of Parkinson’s, coming to Abbotsford in April

Locals with Parkinson’s disease will soon have the opportunity to punch back against the disease.

Rock Steady Boxing is coming to Abbotsford in April, with classes occurring at the Matsqui Recreation Centre on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m.

Program organizers state that Rock Steady Boxing helps to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s through a non-contact boxing-based fitness curriculum.

It is an accredited international Parkinson’s-specific boxing program that has been researched and scientifically proven to help slow down the progression of the disease. Forced intense exercise like non-contact boxing has also been shown to help maintain balance, strength, mobility and activities of daily living.

Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. The program is recognized by Parkinson Society B.C.

The program has run successfully in New Westminster for three years, and head coach Robyn Murrell said she’s looking forward to bringing the class to Abbotsford.

“I am excited to be able to help more people living with Parkinson’s by bringing Rock Steady Boxing to Abbotsford in April,” she stated in a press release. “I’ve seen first-hand how this program benefits people fighting back against the disease in more ways than one.”

The Abbotsford class will be the first Parkinson’s-specific exercise program located east of Surrey, and organizers hope that it will attract participants from surrounding communities, including Langley, Aldergrove, Mission and Chilliwack.

Rock Steady Boxing classes are divided into various levels based upon each person’s unique Parkinson’s symptoms and overall level of fitness.

All potential boxers need to complete a 90-minute assessment with Murrell, to determine the class placement that would be of greatest benefit to them. Contact Murrell for more details at abbotsfordfraser@rsbaffiliate.com or 778-323-1465.

Parkinson’s is the second-most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. The exact cause remains unknownm, although loss of dopamine in the brain is present in all cases of the disease.

There are approximately 100,000 people (2008 figure) with Parkinson’s in Canada, with approximately 13,000 (2014/15) in British Columbia.

The average age of diagnosis is 60. Up to 20 per cent of individuals with Parkinson’s develop symptoms before the age of 60, which is known as Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease.

For more information on the class, visit facebook.com/RockSteadyBoxingAbbotsford.

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