Parkinson’s Patients ‘Rock Steady’ at Boxing Gym

By Taylor Walker/ Jun Tsuboike 
BU News Service

A symphony of sweat and resilience echoes in a Lawrence basement as boxers enter the ring to fight Parkinson’s disease.

Rock Steady Boxing, an Indiana-based workout program came to New England due to a serendipitous meeting. In 2008 Greg Geheb was diagnosed with the progressive movement disorder. The former IBM specialist was introduced to the vigorous program on a family visit to Indianapolis. RockSteady aims to help Parkinson’s patients improve their mobility through non-contact boxing exercise.

“Parkinson’s patients need exercise. It’s like another drug to us,” said Geheb. “The first time I took the class I thought I would die, but I turned out loving it.”

Yearning to continue exercising, Geheb was given free boxing lessons at a Boston gym. The surprise gift led to him being coached by Al Latulippe, amateur boxing trainer.  Latulippe created exercises that Geheb says helped his balance, speed, and agility immensely .

As they continued to work out, Geheb told Latulippe about his experience with Rock Steady in Indianapolis. The duo later received certification as a Rock Steady affiliate and brought the program to Lawrence and Concord, New Hampshire.

Researchers say exercise is a key “medicine” for the chronic disease. Studies have shown that exercise may be “neuro-protective” and slow down the disease.

“This resonates with me,” says Geheb. “It feels good to hit something, to pound away your frustration.”

To learn more about Rock Steady Boxing’s training in the Boston area visit: Rocksteadyboxing.com

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