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Program uses boxing to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms

Last Updated Dec 30, 2016 at 9:09 pm EST

A program started three years ago in Toronto uses boxing to improve the quality of life for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Modelled on a movement in the U.S., Rock Steady Boxing trains those with the disease with workouts tailored to them.

Founder and former lawyer Scott C. Newman noticed a dramatic improvement in his health, agility and daily functioning after starting intense, high-energy boxing workouts a few years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Now, Battle Arts Academy — a gym which training boxers and wrestlers who hope to go pro — is home to the only branch of the program in Canada.

After hearing about the program at a conference, Parkinson’s Resource Centre executive director Mary Neilans got certified as a Rock Steady coach in 2013 and launched the program in Toronto.

So far, it’s been a success, but Neilans says the program needs funding to expand. Demand is high and there’s a wait list.

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