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HealthFirst-Battling Parkinson's

Thursday December 11, 2008

HealthFirst - A new kind of therapy is helping some people "beat" Parkinson's disease -- literally.

Boxing gloves are becoming a formidable opponent of the disease. It certainly is not a cure, but boxing does seem to help some patients with movement and frustration.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, about 1 million people in the United States are living with Parkinson's. Parkinson's is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive. Its symptoms continue and worsen over time. The cause is unknown, and there is currently no cure. However, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery.

Because Parkinson's disease affects a person's ability to move, many experts recommend Some Parkinson's patients say boxing is a good exercise choice. At Tag Team Partners in Davie, Fla., certified personal trainer Craig Marks offers an intense program for patients. Participants report improved balance and strength after sessions with Marks.
Three days a week, the gym is filled with Parkinson's patients. The class focuses on boxing, but includes a host of challenging exercises.

"Our goal is to see if we can try to keep it under control or see if we can slow the progression by doing these different exercises," said Marks. "The goal is constant motion. We don't want to give anybody time to rest if we don't have to."

"Once you see that glove go on, you're just free and you just pound away," said Bonnie Cohen, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's at age 30. "It's given me more balance and a lot more strength."

Abe Taback was diagnosed 16 years ago. He says he feels like a new man. "I notice my balance is a little bit better," he said. "I'm walking better."

Studies show exercise also protects brain neurons from ongoing damage. One Harvard study revealed exercise may also prevent Parkinson's. In the study, men who exercised at least twice a week when they were younger reduced their risk for the disease when they were older by 60 percent.
For more information, you can contact Craig Marks and Tag Team Partners at 954-707-9175. You can also e-mail Marks