21 October 2020
For some, it may seem surprising to put boxing and Parkinson’s disease in the same sentence, but boxing workouts are becoming increasingly popular to help people living with the condition manage their symptoms.
In recent media coverage, Dr David Blacker, a neurologist at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the Perron Institute, shared the story of his own Parkinson’s journey and how a non-contact boxing program he is developing is proving personally beneficial.
We know exercise in general can be good for mental and physical health, but how does boxing benefit someone living with Parkinson’s disease?
“With Parkinson’s disease, your movements are slow, small and weak but for boxing you have to make fast, large, strong movements,” said Dr Blacker.
“The many small steps boxers make to avoid getting hit train you to improve balance, a key problem in Parkinson’s.
“There has been a lot of enthusiasm about boxing as a therapy, but there is little scientific data about optimal training regimens. Our goal is to create a carefully supervised program to maximise potential benefits and reduce the risk of injury.
“Our formal clinical trial is due to commence very soon,” he said.
With funds raised through last year’s MSWA Ocean Ride, some MSWA facilities now have ‘Fightmaster’ boxing equipment, enabling Customers living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions to experience the benefits of boxing as an exercise therapy.
“I’ve really enjoyed using the new Fightmaster and have found it has helped me both physically and mentally. Physically, it’s helped me to build up strength in my arms (it’s great that I can use it when I’m sitting down), while mentally it’s helped with my focus and concentration,” said Charles, an MSWA Customer.
“I really need to use my brain and think quickly to make sure I’m hitting the targets in the right order and with the right punches. At first, I was missing a lot of the targets, but I am getting much, much better!
“It’s great funds from the event were able to purchase the system for all of us to use at Rockingham.”