If you’ve been living with Parkinson’s for a while, chances are good that you’ve either heard about how beneficial boxing is for people with Parkinson’s, or you’ve attended many boxing classes yourself. But how familiar are you with the latest and greatest research about boxing and Parkinson’s?
In this episode
Our panel members, John Dean, Josefa Domingos, and Sara Rigarre shared specifics about the research they’ve conducted and described the effects of Parkinson’s severity and duration of boxing training on changes in balance, mobility, and quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s.
To download the transcript, click here.
Note: This isn’t a perfect transcript, but it’s close.
- Incorporating dual or multi-tasking into exercises for Parkinson’s can effectively strengthen the function and neuroplasticity of the brain. Some examples related to boxing include pairing vocal exercises or cognitive tasks such as counting and memory with boxing
- Boxing programs designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s are becoming increasingly popular. One such example is Rock Steady Boxing, an international program that offers online and in-person classes
- Entering a boxing gym for the first time can be intimidating. To ease your nerves, consider arranging a visit to observe a class, speak with class participants, and meet with the instructor to ensure that your needs will be met. All instructors and boxing gyms are different, so take time to explore a few and find the best fit for you
- Some boxing participants choose to wear boxing gloves and punch a bag or mitts held by the instructor, while some people prefer “shadow boxing,” punching the air with their fists
- Boxing has many benefits for people with Parkinson’s. First of all, it’s fun! Exercise is one of the best things that can be done for the management of Parkinson’s, and boxing is an excellent full-body workout that can be tailored to all levels. The enjoyable aspect of boxing encourages consistency, and joining a boxing class can help you find community and support that are essential aspects of living well with Parkinson’s
- Although there are not many research studies supporting the benefits of boxing for Parkinson’s at this time, a few have been completed or are under way. Research studies mentioned in today’s webinar include:
- In 2019, Sara Rigarre, Josefa Domingos, John Dean, and others did a pilot study on the feasibility and acceptability of a Parkinson’s boxing program in a community-based setting, finding that the boxing program was well-received and the educational resources could effectively support boxing instructors
- In 2011, Stephanie Combs et al. conducted a case series intended to describe the effects of disease severity and length of boxing training on balance, mobility, and quality of life for people with Parkinson’s. This study found that all six participants showed improvements in five of the 12 outcome measures and determined that generally, people with milder Parkinson’s symptoms showed improvement more quickly
- In 2013, Stephanie Combs et al. did a randomized control trial (RCT) comparing group boxing training to traditional group exercise on function and quality of life in persons with Parkinson’s. This study found that the traditional exercise group showed greater gains in balance confidence while the boxing group showed greater gains in gait velocity and endurance. Both groups demonstrated improvement in balance, mobility, and quality of life
Research studies mentioned
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*The Third Season of the Parkinson’s Podcast is made possible through generous support in honor of Dr. Margaret Hilgartner.