While every individual has a unique game plan for living with Parkinson’s disease (PD), exercise is an important part of the management strategy. Not only is it good for general health, but certain forms of activity can target specific Parkinson’s symptoms. Although one distinct type of exercise isn’t universally recommended for all people with PD, many have gotten hooked on non-contact boxing. A boxing program designed for people with Parkinson’s is sweeping the nation.
This full-body workout focuses on balance, agility, and hand-eye coordination, all of which can be affected by Parkinson’s. It also can build muscle strength, potentially help speech (some say grunting or yelling while punching aids with vocal projection), and even offer an outlet for frustration toward symptoms or the disease.
Like many types of exercise, boxing can ease a range of PD symptoms. Research suggests, however, that it might be doing even more with participants consistently showing improvements in walking, balance, performance of daily activities and quality of life in people who boxed regularly. Researchers are working to learn more about how exercise benefits people with Parkinson’s and which symptoms respond to which types and levels of activity.