Boxing class makes fighters out of Parkinson’s patients

Those living with Parkinson's disease and attend DopaFit classes said their symptoms have stabilized

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Patients battling Parkinson’s disease are turning to boxing for therapy. For the mighty group of 15, it’s not about building that six pack or knocking the other guy out, it’s about being ready for what comes tomorrow.

Tucked into the Eastworks building in Easthampton is DopaFit, a fitness center providing alternative therapy for people living with Parkinson’s disease. Group instructor Chad Moir told 22News each group exercise is tailored to help fight their symptoms; “Parkinson’s wants to make you smaller. It brings you forward and it even lessens your voice.”

So instead the group practices vocal exercises by yelling. They practice footwork by taking large, exaggerated steps, and practicing boxing with stationary punching bags.

“I came because I have Parkinson’s.” Lyle Pearsons said each class represents a symbolic fight for another healthy day. “When I hit that bag, I keep thinking, ‘Take that PD! Take that PD!’ I just keep hitting it and hitting it, and even when I’m almost at the end and think ‘I can’t do it anymore,’ I keep doing it.”

Moir understands the struggle personally, having lost his own mother to the disease. “Instead of having resentment towards Parkinson’s,” said Moir, “I’m going to take revenge. And I’ve taken revenge by helping other people live the best lives they can while living with their Parkinson’s disease.”

Pearson said they are. He said the exercises have stabilized some of his symptoms, and they’re working the same magic on his team. “Many of them are older than I am, and I see them putting out 110% all the time, and it just inspires me to do more than perhaps I’m capable of.”

Click here to learn more about how DopaFit can help you or someone you know fight Parkinson’s disease.