DENVER -- With every punch, jab and hit Hugh Courtenay battles not just the bag but also Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impacts movement. The Parkinson Association of the Rockies says 17,000 Coloradans have Parkinson’s.
Courtenay was diagnosed six years ago and said, “Parkinson’s, as it progresses is about giving up stuff in your life.”
But not in the Power Punch for Parkinson’s gym.
It’s a unique program in Colorado that uses professional boxers to teach the skills to Parkinson’s patients. Cheryl Siefert, with the association explained exercise, especially intense exercise, is key for people with Parkinson’s. And she said they see miracles every day in the Power Punch program.
Courtenay has been boxing for over a year and said it has made a huge difference in his activity level. He said it helps with balance and strength as well as coordination and agility.
Tina Schoenherr was diagnosed when she was in her 40s, in 2011. She has also been boxing for a year and said it stopped Parkinson’s a lot and she can now do things like run and skip that she thought she’d never be able to do again. She added she’s on a low regimen of medications thanks to boxing.
She said it helps her focus mentally and helps her stay balanced emotionally, too.
The program has been such a success the association will be adding other classes in other cities. You can find more information at www.ParkinsonRockies.org.