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Lyndonville gym offers therapeutic exercise for Parkinson's patients

Fighting back against Parkinson's

LYNDONVILLE, Vt. - A gym in Lyndonville is helping people battle Parkinson’s disease.

“It’s kind of the last thing I thought I’d do actually,” said Joe Allard, a boxing coach at Rock Steady Boxing in Lyndonville.

Rock Steady Boxing started in Indianapolis in 2006 when a county prosecutor was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease.

“He wanted to do something about it and he started doing his own boxing training because he heard rigorous physical fitness would help slow down the process of Parkinson’s, and he finally formed what he called Rock Steady Boxing,” explained Allard.

It combines elements of balance, speed, agility, power, quick reflexes, footwork and handwork.

“It’s like forced muscle movement where you have to do the work in order for anything to happen so it’s really great for Parkinson’s,” said Allard.

When Terry Martin was diagnosed three-and-a-half years ago, he said he and his wife were worried about his life expectancy.

“The doctor said, ‘You know the life expectancy is about the same as anybody else,’ but they didn’t tell us about the quality of life we would have and it’s going to get worst,” said Martin.

Martin says he’s seen quite a bit of progress.

“Joe said he's seen progress in what I do. I feel like I can function better so, oh yeah, I notice improvement. My wife has noticed improvement and my families noticed improvement. It's just good for it,” said Martin.

Parkinson’s has haunted Carol Borland’s family.

“My father had it and my grandfather had it and my brother was developing it,” she said.

Since she started boxing, Borland says she’s regained muscle in her arms.

“My arms were very weak, and I didn't realize that until I started coming here,” she said. “And so I feel like I’ve gained some arm strength and I also think I’ve gained some, a little better balance and so forth.

“You know we go through hell with this disease and it’s not just us, it’s the family, its everybody. But boy if we work at it, we can survive with the quality of life we want,” said Terry Martin.

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