Okay, so this post is pure fact. No funny stuff here. I had to get a little technical in order to develop a framework for why I, and so many others, box.
If you haven’t heard yet, I box. I box because I was told by my doctor and others that I had to. So, I did. I had no idea why. This post dives into the back up research conducted to prove how boxing actually helps those diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
Quick attempt at being funny: After Lee and I got over the numbness from the diagnosis (at least three months), I looked at him and said, “Why couldn’t I be diagnosed with a disease where I don’t have to exercise or eat healthy.” MIKE DROP!
The Research. The Parkinson’s Foundation Parkinson’s “Outcomes Project,” the largest-ever clinical study of Parkinson’s disease key findings (https://parkinson.org/research/Parkinsons-Outcomes-Project/Key-Findings) studied how exercise affects those diagnosed with Pd.
Regular Exercise Is Associated with Better Quality of Life and Mobility in People With PD. This study examined the associations between exercise and change in quality of life and mobility over two years. The study compared those who exercise and those who did not. Improved mobility and a better quality of life were seen in those who consistently exercised and who started exercising after their first center visit
2.5 Hours of Weekly Exercise is Associated with Slower Decline in Quality of Life In PD. This study tracked 2,940 people with PD over 2 years and found that those who exercised at least 2.5 hours per week are associated with better health-related quality of life and slower decline.
So, why do people with Parkinson’s need to box? Traditional boxing training incorporates elements and moves that benefit PD specific symptoms, including footwork, balance, agility, movement in all planes of motion, hand-eye coordination, speech and voice projection (by grunting and yelling while punching), builds strength and lower body endurance, improves flexibility, posture, breathing, enhances cognition through attention, task switching, dual tasking, and short-term memory recall of boxing sequences, promotes camaraderie, promotes vigor and high intensity exercise for aerobic conditioning.
Writing this blog has been stressful because I have been trying to get to this point where I finally start to focus on my boxing and LDBF: Boxing for Parkinson’s, a non-profit organization, offering non-contact, vigorous boxing training workouts taught by certified boxing trainers. The organization was developed to address the physical training needs of the Parkinson’s community in Atlanta and other US markets with programs that improve the physical and cognitive health of its membership.
LDBF is my new village. The camaraderie shared between the boxers, trainers and volunteers contribute to my emotional healing on a daily basis. We text each other when someone is not feeling well. We bring food to those who may be having difficulties outside of the gym. We go to lunch. We talk about our disease. We get each other.
The story continues.
Stand by for the “New Under Construction” LDBF website link. Once complete, you can share the link with someone who may need to start boxing.