How no-contact boxing may help combat Parkinson's disease
The sport of boxing has been referred to as the “sweet science.” No-contact boxing has become a popular form of exercise for people with mild Parkinson’s disease.
A small, new study led by Edith Cowan University in Australia found that boxing may benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
The study’s findings suggest that no-contact boxing is not only safe for people with Parkinson’s disease, but 9 out of 10 people also experienced an improvement in motor control at the end of the study.
- No-contact boxing for people with Parkinson’s disease is growing in popularity for its uncanny applicability to the body systems the disease affects and for its enjoyability.
- A new study investigating no-contact boxing’s safety and value for people with mild Parkinson’s disease gives the sport high marks.
- Inactivity can worsen symptoms for people with the disease, so an enjoyable way to work on problem areas is especially welcome.
No-contact boxing among people with Parkinson’s disease is on the rise. Rock Steady Boxing, a company that operates no-contact boxing gyms worldwide for people with Parkinson’s, reports it has 43,500 clients exercising in 871 programs around the world.
The purpose of the new study is to provide “high-quality feasibility, safety, and efficacy data” on a non-contact boxing training program for Parkinson’s disease.
The small study involved 10 individuals with early-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) who took part in three distinct five-week blocks of no-contact boxing. They averaged 60 years of age. Each block contained three one-hour sessions each week and active rest periods.
The first block was dedicated to training the technique. The second increased intensity and included high intensity interval training. The final block incorporated cognitive demands during the boxing sequencing.
The study was designed by its authors, particularly exercise researcher Dr. Travis Cruikshank,Ph.D.. All participants were screened, underwent cardiac stress tests, and were closely monitored during exercise sessions.
None of the participants dropped out over the 15-week study, with just four out of 348 sessions missed by individuals due to minor injuries. The boxers’ “opponent” was a piece of training equipment called the “Fightmaster,” which proved so enjoyable that all of the participants bought one of their own to keep exercising at home.
The study was conducted in partnership with the Perron Institute and boxer Rai Fazio. Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the University of Western Australia assisted in the planning of the study.
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