Memorial Sportscare Boxing Program a Hit With Parkinson’s Patients

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
05/16/17  11:15 AM PST
Parkinson’s Patients

By David Blanchette Correspondent for The State Journal-Register

Lynn Kearney is a force to be reckoned with.

“You wouldn’t want me to hit you!” exclaimed the 69-year-old Kearney, a resident of the Macoupin County community of Atwater, when describing her twice-weekly boxing workouts at the Springfield YMCA.

“I use a ball that is tethered at the top and bottom, and when you hit that, to me that’s the most fun,” Kearney said. “You go ‘boom, boom, boom, boom’ as hard and fast as you can with your two hands with your boxing gloves on.”

“Then we have two hanging bags. They each weigh 100 pounds, and with those, when you hit them, you move your body to give more power to your punch,” said Kearney, who wears pink boxing gloves for her workouts. “Oh it’s fun, lots of fun.”

The bag-punching Kearney is not a typical 69-year-old woman in one other way. She has Parkinson’s, a degenerative disorder that can cause deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory function. She boxes to help fight the ravages of the incurable disease through the new, non-contact Rock Steady Boxing program offered at Memorial’s SportsCare. Kearney joined the program when it became available earlier this year.

“I feel stronger and I can do things that I know people who don’t have Parkinson’s can’t do. Some of the bags that I work on, people have no idea how to use them,” Kearney said. “We have a lot of young athletes come in for their workouts, like from the Junior Blues, who say they don’t know how to use the bags, so I show them how.”

Kearney was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2012. The disease made it difficult for her to walk, a problem that medication didn’t address well. So Kearney began exercising at the YMCA to build her strength.

Read the Full Article at The State Journal-Register.

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