Parkinson’s disease specialist starts boxing course for Flathead patients

Debbie Chance participates with her husband at a new Rocksteady boxing course in Kalispell for Parkinson's disease patients.jpg

A Parkinson's disease rehabilitation specialist spent years bringing the Rock Steady brand of boxing to the Flathead and is now helping those affected with the disease fight back.

“The great thing about boxing is that we’re working on all those different motor skills, so people can improve their function, but it also gives them the ability to fight back the disease,” said Lynnell Finley, with Advanced Rehabilitation Services in Kalispell.

Finley says intense exercise has been shown to reverse and slow down some of the symptoms of Parkinson's.

When she first heard of the boxing class she knew it would help her patients, and she looked into bringing it to the area.

Finley eventually flew to the Rock Steady headquarters in Indiana and got certified as a Rock Steady Boxing instructor.

Rock Steady Boxing Glacier is now held at Access Fitness in Kalispell on Mondays and Wednesdays. It’s part of more than 500 classes offered across the country within the Rocksteady network.

They currently have nine participants, and the class is growing.

Oftentimes spouses, caretakers and local student volunteers take the class alongside the patients.

“My wife is a Parkinson's patient. She was diagnosed about six years ago, and it’s been a steady downward spiral, physically, for her," said Dickson Rice.

"Since we started doing the Rock Steady program it’s the first time since I've seen anything that’s actually helped her improve,” he added.

Debbie Chance, another spouse who takes the course, also sees benefits to taking the class.

“The camaraderie is everything with the group. They have fun, they’re socializing, they’re getting motivated to keep moving, and they’re around people who understand what’s going on,” she said.

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