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Rock Steady Boxing: Emily

Tuesday January 19, 2016

One of our more-recent additions, Emily Jarrett, learned about Rock Steady Boxing via sources ranging from her physical therapist and Parkinson’s newsletters to statistics from researchers in Indianapolis.

Boxing became an instant passion: “I LOVE hitting the bag: it's so satisfying! I can channel all my frustration and stress into those punches. When I leave the gym I feel as if I've left all my stress behind.” This is a refrain that is common within the Rock Steady Boxing community, and throughout the larger boxing and martial arts communities. Many talk about how their training has been life-changing, especially when facing tough times.

And she talks about how Rock Steady Boxing is different from other workouts: “Unlike some other ‘exercise’ classes I've tried, RSB is refreshingly straightforward: no dogma, no costumes, no competition. The opponent is Parkinson's. Classes are full-body/mind workouts; you have to think, shift, adapt, count, move.”

“Benefits have included increased flexibility and strength, and an increased level of confidence. When I started classes, I couldn't jump rope at all. In just a few months, I can! This kind of measurable, visible accomplishment increases my sense of what I can do, and encourages me to do more.”

And one of the benefits she’s seen – olfactory – isn’t even one of the typical ones experienced by “fighters” in the program: “Probably the most surprising benefit for me has been that my sense of smell has improved! I certainly didn't expect that!

Beyond those benefits, she talks about “the camaraderie, the feeling of accomplishment. Since I have never done anything remotely like boxing, I also like learning new skills.”

Getting her husband involved has also been one of the pluses of the program: “Also important to me is the inclusion of care partners in some of our classes. This makes it easier to continue training at home – and it's good for them too!”

Outside the ring, she enjoys the Rock Steady Boxing Seattle newsletter, that she names “An excellent resource for all things Parkinson's, from the latest research to alternative treatment programs. Unlike many PD newsletters, it doesn't soft-pedal the facts, and it doesn't talk down, but provides solid information.”

And the program ties in with her “evolving treatment plan that is really just a more healthy, mindful life – exercise, diet, medicine, sleep, meditation, mental stimuli, mood, etc. I want to incorporate what works. All of my providers, whether traditional or nontraditional, support my participation in RSB and cheer me on.”

Interested in finding out how Rock Steady Boxing can benefit you? Stop by to watch one of our classes, or if you know you want to get involved, contact us for your pre-participation assessment!

Rock Steady Boxing Seattle founder, owner and coach Karen Johanson decided to explore personal training as a result of seeing her father’s experience with Parkinson’s and learning that exercise therapy was a valuable tool in managing the disease. After getting her NASM-CPT certification, she attended a Michael J. Fox Foundation Partners in Parkinson’s event in Washington and learned about Rock Steady Boxing as the result of a tweet about the Bay Area date for the event from Rock Steady Boxing SF. She was instantly sold. Helping people with Parkinson’s via boxing seemed like a perfect fit, since was already involved with striking sports. Weeks after attending training camp in Indianapolis, she opened the first Rock Steady Boxing affiliate in the Pacific Northwest. 

Karen JohansonKaren Johanson
Rock Steady Boxing Seattle

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