by Melanie Montana, JCC Health and Wellness Staff & Certified Rock Steady Boxing Instructor
The Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) program is an inspired vision of hope and determination. Participants empower each other as they collectively fight back against Parkinson’s. The goal of this innovative, non-contact workout is to dramatically improve the ability of people with Parkinson’s to live independent lives.
During my certification training at the RSB headquarters in Indianapolis, I recently had the pleasure of working with Tom, an RS boxer, who said, “I’m having fun with Parkinson’s.” Tom was right – RSB is fun and it works! The “forced intense exercise” has been medically determined to potentially slow the progression and reduce or reverse symptoms of Parkinson’s. RSB workouts include ring work, jump rope, focus mitts, speed bags, heavy bags, double-ended bags, core work, calisthenics and circuit weight training.
At the training, David, an RSB volunteer, was helping me with the rhythm of the speed bag. While I awkwardly hit the speed bag looking at the boxers around me (who looked like they had trained with Rocky Balboa), David patiently instructed me. He also did more than just teach. He shared that only a year and a half ago, he first came to RSB depressed and in a wheelchair. I was stunned to learn that he had Parkinson’s. I could not visibly see any signs or symptoms. He walked with vigor and confidence. David is truly an example that it is possible to fight back against Parkinson’s. There were many others at various levels of this disease who clearly were determined to take back control of their bodies and join forces in unity with the RSB community to knock out Parkinson’s.
I am forever grateful to all the boxers who fell and got up; who cheered and encouraged their fellow Parkie; who grunted it out and sweated with the best of them; and who faced their foe – Parkinson’s – one punch at a time. Thank you! May the force be with you and with all those who take the first step and join the fight against Parkinson’s.
We are excited to bring this program for the first time to South Jersey! Starting in September, the Katz JCC will be offering two Rock Steady Boxing classes. Please join me and Stacey Macasulo, certified RSB coaches, on Saturdays at 12:15pm or Tuesdays at 1pm. Classes are now forming!