Skip to Content

Fighting Parkinson's disease

boxing with the punching bagshand wrapping before boxing
In recognition of Parkinson’s Awareness Month we highlight some of the employees at Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) working to raise awareness and help individuals fight the symptoms of Parkinson’s. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, around one million people in the U.S. live with Parkinson’s disease.

Rolling with the punches

In a previous edition of the Perspectives Blog, we shared the story of Colin McQuillan, “The Boxer of Boutwells Landing.” Together with Fitness Instructor Greg Johnson, Colin took on a regular boxing routine to fight back against the symptoms of his Parkinson’s disease. Today, Colin continues boxing to maintain and improve his quality of life, inspiring Greg to take his boxing class on the road to other PHS communities.

When Fitness Instructor Katie Voth learned of Colin’s success, she was eager to share it with the residents at Johanna Shores. Katie organized a trip to Title Boxing Club in Arden Hills, MN to learn more about Parkinson’s disease and the benefits of boxing. The group completed the “Knockout Parkinson’s” class and learned non contact boxing and kickboxing techniques that can alleviate the symptoms associated with the disease.

boxing class participantsThe benefits of boxing

A regular boxing regimen that includes stretching, footwork, punching and shouting can relieve some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:

  • Stretching before and after training relieves muscle stiffness
  • Footwork in boxing encourages improved balance and coordination
  • Punching practice helps to alleviate tremors, loosen tight muscles and improve hand-eye coordination
  • Shouting while punching improves vocal tremors and speech

Participants wrapped their hands, put on their gloves and stepped into the gym. Each resident practiced punching the 100lb bags in different combinations. The 45 minute class pushed them to their limits in balance, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular training but they returned to Johanna Shores excited to take part in the next boxing class, this time, on their home turf.

Back to top