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Parkinson’s Doesn’t Hold Any Punches… Fight Back with Boxing and Exercise!

Rock Steady Boxing Offers an Intense Workout that Has Been Proven to Cause Positive Change in the Brain

By Sarrisa Curry, Rock Steady Boxing Kansas City

Parkinson’s Doesn’t Hold Any Punches... Fight Back with Boxing and Exercise!If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), you likely know that while there are medications and treatments that can relieve the many symptoms of the disease, there is no cure. Over time, neurological function will deteriorate, the body will move slowly, tremor, freeze, stiffen, and weaken. Cognitive function, speech, memory, and mood are also affected. For many, this diagnosis is uncertain and scary.

Need some good news and hope?
There is a drug free regimen that also relieves symptoms, can reverse brain deterioration, restore balance, posture, gait and steadiness, and significantly slow progression. It is called EXERCISE! Specifically, boxing. Overland Park is home to the largest Parkinson’s specific non-contact Boxing gym in the greater Kansas City area. In Your Corner hosts the world-recognized boxing program, Rock Steady Boxing (Kansas City), as well as yoga, tai chi, dance, and rhythm classes.

Why boxing?
Boxing requires all of the things that PD tends to steal away. Balance, agility, speed, hand/eye coordination and reflexiveness, strength, and endurance. In a typical 60 minute class at In Your Corner, boxers will experience warm up drills which include ladder runs, cone drills, shadow boxing, ball pass, and vigorous calisthenics. Mitt drills are a favorite amongst boxers as they work together to move and coordinate punch combinations, footwork, and voice exercises. Bag drills work on right hand/left hand strength, speed, and muscle control. Heavy bags, double end bags, and speed bags offer a variety of stimulus and challenge. Experienced coaches encourage boxers to work hard, push themselves to punch harder, faster, to call out the punches or count down the last moments of the round. It is an intense workout that has been proven to cause positive change in the brain.

Do YOU have a fighting chance?
YES! Whether you just received the diagnosis or you have been fighting PD for 20+ years, there is a place for you at In Your Corner. Rock Steady Boxing Kansas City has 4 levels of classes to ensure those who need high intensity, sweat dripping workouts and those wheelchair bound (and everyone in between) receive the most appropriate and beneficial workout possible. We offer 16 classes a week, including morning, afternoon, evening and weekend classes. We are conveniently located in the lower level of Ranchmart Mall across from the Glenwood Arts Theater. Our facility is designed with wide open safe spaces, easily accessible restrooms and lockers, and with over 20 bags available in our 4,600 square foot gym, you will be hard pressed to find a better boxing experience. We understand that the person with PD is not the only one managing symptoms and care. Our “Fit2care” program offers support for those standing in the place of Cornermen in the lives of their boxers.

Rock Steady Boxing Success Story: Jeremy Clay
“Right now, I’m not on any medication Rock Steady’s my medication.”
Jeremy Clay is a Kansas City–area auctioneer in his 40s. Diagnosed at 37 with young-onset Parkinson’s, he’s been through some tough times in the past few years. But today, he’s embracing life and feeling better than ever. We sat down with Jeremy to ask him about living with Parkinson’s — and fighting it with Rock Steady Boxing.

Rock Steady Boxing:
Tell us a bit about your diagnosis.
Jeremy Clay: I noticed my hand starting to shake a few years ago. My doctor referred me to Dr. [Rajesh] Pahwa, who confirmed what I’d been fearing, but I didn’t want to believe it. Nobody wants to believe that at all. I flew up to the Mayo Clinic, and I was in and out of there in about three hours. I had to face the music.

Rock Steady Boxing:
Describe the aftermath of your diagnosis.
Jeremy Clay: My spirits were just in the tank. When you get diagnosed with something like Parkinson’s, it smacks you in the face. You get back up, and it just hits you again. I felt so lost. I went through a divorce, too, which takes its own toll on you. Throughout that time in my life, I was on cruise control: doing the best I could, getting through it, and waking up the next day to do it again.

Rock Steady Boxing:  
What other treatments did you try to treat your Parkinson’s symptoms?
Jeremy Clay: I started out on several medications, but I’ll be honest with you, they didn’t do a thing for me. I felt like I’d been drugged; it was hard for me even to perform daily functions. I was disconnected from everything. Dr. Pahwa also recommended deep brain stimulation (DBS). But when I went in to be evaluated for it, I’d been boxing for a couple of months , and my condition had already improved a lot. There may be a day when I need DBS, but I’m not ready for it today. Right now, I’m not on any medication. Rock Steady’s my medication — I do it three or four times a week.

Rock Steady Boxing:
What has your experience at Rock Steady been like?
Jeremy Clay: The first workout was really intense — I had to go into the bathroom to throw up. But I’m not a quitter. I kept with it, and now it’s making a real difference. You start building and building, and you thrive on it. I’m a very competitive person. There are a lot of guys in class who are older than me, and on the days they outperform me…well, I’m happy for them, but I have to tell myself it’s time to step it up. Even on the days I don’t work out at Rock Steady, I try to do my own workout, even if it’s just 20 or 30 minutes at home, to keep my muscles loose and relaxed.
Rock Steady Boxing:

Do you have any favorite activities?
Jeremy Clay: Weight Wednesday does me a world of good. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be doing up to 40 pushups a day within five months, I would’ve bet $100 against myself. I’m there a lot, so it’s hard for me to see the difference it’s made, but I have noticed my arms getting bigger and more muscular. That feels good.

Rock Steady Boxing:
How else has Rock Steady Boxing affected you?
Jeremy Clay: I’ve met and befriended so many people — I just started in the beginning of July, and we’re all a team now. We’re here to lift each other up, and make the best of the situation. Rock Steady doesn’t just benefit you physically, it benefits you mentally. We all know we’re in for the fight of our lives, but we’re fighting together — which means we do it with smiles on our faces.

This has given me back my confidence. Rock Steady has shown me that Parkinson’s does not define who I am. It’s something I have, not something I am. I’m still in control. I can handle this. As an auctioneer, I have to perform on a daily basis. One of the things you worry about with Parkinson’s is losing your voice — everything weakens. I was worried about that for a while, but now I think Parkinson’s had better be worried what I’m going to do to it. My attitude a year ago would’ve been that I was losing — now I think I’m winning.

Rock Steady Boxing:
What would you say to another person with Parkinson’s who is considering Rock Steady Boxing?
Jeremy Clay: Give it a try-in and buy-in for a month. You’ll feel like hell at first — you’ll feel like you can’t go on the next day. (I did!) But if you push through it and believe in yourself, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. For people with Parkinson’s, you can either do this and reap the benefits — or curl up into a ball, throw up the white flag, and quit.

Each day is a gift! You’ve gotta maximize the potential of each day. Live in the moment. Just try it.

Don’t Wait!
Start your Fight NOW!
You are not alone. In Your Corner has nearly 100 boxers of all stages in life and PD. The youngest boxer is 42, the oldest is 93. It is estimated that 30,000 people in Kansas City are affected by PD. In Your Corner wants to be a place of hope, encouragement and change for the families and individuals who live with PD every day.

Free Assessment
Call us at 913-276-HOOK (4665) to schedule a free assessment, or visit us online at

3825 West 95th Street,
Overland Park, KS 66207
(Lower Level of Ranchmart Mall)

913-276-HOOK (4665)
Twitter @RSBKC16


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