For Parkinson's patients, Rock Steady is more than just a boxing class. It's a chance to fight back.
But they're not just working on their jabs and uppercuts. The program also focuses on overall fitness for folks with the neurological disorder. Coaches lead boxers through different types of exercises focusing on things like balance, reaction time, voice activation and manual dexterity - skills that are impacted by Parkinson's.
Rock Steady Boxing began in Indianapolis 11 years ago. Coaches Jennifer Buszka and Sus Bristow started the Helena affiliate in September of last year. Around a dozen people attend each week - many with no former boxing experience.
But that's okay, because Bristow and Buszka say the non-contact workouts get heart rates up while improving quality of life and self worth.
"It has been life changing to me," Bristow said. "I just feel that it's so important to build the confidence. And everybody has that inside them to do things for themselves. This program gives them that chance to do that."
Both men and women with all levels of Parkinson's symptoms participate in Rock Steady.
Coaches say the exercises can be modified for anyone, but everyone receives the same tough-love approach.
For more information about Rock Steady, email Helena@RSBaffiliate.com or call 437-2121 or 431-0689.
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