Parkinson’s Sufferers Can Fight Back With Rock Steady Boxing

Eric Spencer, left, listens as Rock Steady Boxing instructor Anastasia Alter talks to the group at a Frankfort Kiwanis group about the activity that helps victims of Parkinson’s disease fight back.

Those individuals who suffer from Parkinson’s disease now have a weapon they can use to fight back with — Rock Steady Boxing.

Rock Steady Boxing, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, gives people with Parkinson’s hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing based fitness curriculum. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative movement disorder which can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory function.

“I feel like I’m stronger,” said Frankfort Kiwanis Club member Eric Spencer, who is fighting Parkinson’s. “I have a better sense of balance plus the fellowship and camaraderie of the group. That sense of support is tremendous. It’s just a real positive experience all the way around.”

A program on Rock Steady Boxing was presented at the Kiwanis Club meeting in the Wesley Manor Chapel Tuesday.

“We focus on all aspects of Parkinson’s and incorporate functional fitness to counteract the Parkinson’s,” said Anastasia Alter, who is volunteer and coach for Rock Steady Boxing. “It teaches you to fight back.”

Alter, who is the instructor of the class that Spencer takes three times a week at Witham Hospital in Lebanon, said she has been doing this for a year-and-a-half.

“I knew one of the other Rock Steady Boxing coaches at Witham,” said Alter. “He said ‘would you like to come and volunteer.’ I came and volunteered for a class and fell in love with it right there. I got certified in two months and the rest is history.”

Alter said being active is the best way to combat Parkinson’s.

“If you have Parkinson’s, you need to get into some kind of extracurricular activity,” she said. “You need to be moving and fighting back against your disease.”

Spencer said his doctor, Rick Beardsley, told him about Rock Steady Boxing. He got online to learn more about it and find the closest location which was Witham. He’s being doing this ever since last August.

“I feel stronger,” said Spencer. “I still get sore, but that’s OK. It’s gotten me out of the recliner and doing some exercises and workouts which is kind of a silver lining for me. I know Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings I’m going to go to Rock Steady Boxing and get a good workout. I look forward to it and I hate to miss. I encourage people with Parkinson’s to check it out.”

For those who feel that Lebanon is too far to go, you no longer have that excuse because the Clinton County Family YMCA is teaming up with Witham and Rock Steady Boxing to offer a program at the YMCA on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The actual first day was Tuesday. The class will be taught by Erin Schwein.

Alter said Rock Steady Boxing has more than 700 affiliates around the world.

“Rock Steady Boxing is my heart,” said Alter. “I don’t call it work.”

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