What is Rock Steady Boxing (RSB)?
Rock Steady Boxing is a one-of-a-kind, Indianapolis-based nonprofit gym founded in 2006 to provide a uniquely effective form of physical exercise to people who are living with Parkinson’s. Though it may seem surprising, this non-contact, boxing-inspired fitness routine is proving to dramatically improve the ability of people with Parkinson’s to live independent lives. Rock Steady Boxing and the information on this website is not intended or implied to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, on this website is for general informational purposes only. You are encouraged to discuss any information found on this website with your physician.
What types of boxing classes does RSB offer?
Training classes include an exercise program that attacks Parkinson’s at its vulnerable neurological points. While focusing on overall fitness, workouts include: ring work, focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, double-ended bags, jump rope, core work, calisthenics and circuit weight training. No boxing experience is necessary and people of all ages are invited to participate. There are four different levels of classes offered, depending on the participants level of Parkinson’s and over-all fitness.
Why boxing training instead of more traditional exercises, such as physical therapy or just going to exercise classes at a fitness center?
Various studies in the 1980’s and 1990‘s support that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, rhythm, and hand-eye coordination can favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living. More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and suggest that certain types of exercise are neuro-protective, which means that it is a type of exercise that may actually slow disease progression.
Is there medical evidence that shows exercise can help alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms?
Yes. The value of exercise has been corroborated in several studies, including some at Lakehead University in Ontario and University of Utah in Salt Lake City. According to a Cleveland Clinic study, aerobic fitness can be improved in Parkinson’s patients following forced and/or voluntary exercise. Studies are showing that exercise induces brain repair and accompanying behavioral recovery. (References to any studies on this website are for informational purposes only and do not imply a specific endorsement of RSB by the researchers.) Some suggest that continuous, intensive training may confer neuro-protection, and subsequently slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s or promote neuro-restoration.
Because of the promising results seen through RSB, the organization has been selected to be a part of research to document the impact of boxing and rigorous exercise on the progression of Parkinson’s. RSB has also drawn the attention of local university researchers, who are now in the process of quantifying and evaluating the results in the people who have continued with RSB.
Before beginning any type of exercise program including RSB, those with Parkinson’s are encouraged to consult with their physician.
Can anyone with Parkinson’s participate…no matter what their age or condition?
Nearly everyone with Parkinson’s disease can participate and receive benefit from Rock Steady Boxing. An intake evaluation process is conducted prior to the first class to determine the recommended class level. Some participants will require a caregiver partner to assist in each session. Individuals of all ages are benefiting from RSB’s program. We strongly encourage you to also discuss RSB participation with your physician prior to your first workout.
Do I need a physician’s recommendation to attend RSB?
We recommend every participant have a physician’s release and Rock Steady Boxers should always discuss any form of exercise they are doing inside and outside of RSB with their physicians as part of their overall wellness plan. RSB also requests that individuals with cardiac problems clear their participation with their doctors to make sure that they can participate in activities requiring rigorous exercise.