NEWBURY PARK (CBSLA.com) — Fighting any disease can be difficult.
But a group of people in Newbury Park are using actual boxing to fight off disease and its symptoms.
CBS2’s Amy Johnson said members of this group are fighting back against Parkinson’s and other muscular diseases one punch at a time.
This class held at Title Boxing Club in Newbury Park is called PD Fighters.
Jennifer Parkinson, (yes, that’s her last name) knows exactly what they’re going through. The 43-year-old was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 11 years ago.
“I started having a tremor in my right hand,” Parkinson said.
Medication helped at first but the single mother needed more help. She read about a boxing program online called Rock Steady boxing in Indiana. That program was too far from her Thousand Oaks home so she got her own trainer.
“At the end of the workout, I felt better than I’d ever felt. It’s a concept known as forced exercise,” says Parkinson.
She started classes in Costa Mesa when Rock Steady opened on the West Coast. But when Title Boxing Club opened near her home, she asked the general manager to start a class for people with Parkinson’s.
“It’s been life-changing for so many people here. I knew what it did for me. But I really had no idea how it would translate.”
The class is held three times a week.
“We have almost 100 people in the program now. They range literally from 42-92,” says Lisa Oliver.
Dave Bender, 77, started taking the classes a year ago.
“I’ve been able to cut down on my medication, my posture has improved. My at-rest trembling is much reduced. … I’m very close to leading a normal life,” says Bender.
And while this class is filled with people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the therapy can help so many others.
“We are starting to see benefits working with Lou Gehrig’s disease, working with muscular scleroris, muscular dystrophy. We’re starting to see almost any neurodegenerative is seeing a result.” said Title Boxing Club trainer Josh Ripley.
Parkinson had to quit her job as a nurse many years ago but says she’s thrilled to be helping others again.
“With this program, we’re giving people back those little pieces of their lives again,” Parkinson said.