When Bill was a kid, he watched Friday Night Fights with his dad. He said the two of them would sit in the pretty little den at the back of their house, and his dad would smoke a cigar while watching the fights. Imagine that….smoking a cigar in the house. At any rate, that experience nurtured Bill’s love for boxing. He hasn’t watched boxing for many years now, but he enjoyed it during the days of Mohammad Ali and Joe Frazier and Sonny Liston and George Foreman. Now boxing is just stupid. Those are my words, not his.
Fast forward 60 years or so, and you will find that same Bill learning that he has Parkinson’s disease. In his optimistic Bill-like manner, he takes it in stride and starts studying things he can do to help slow progression. He tries many different strategies, and for the most part, has been successful at keeping the progression slow. But as I have mentioned before, the one thing that his movement disorder doctor says again and again is that the single best thing to do to slow down Parkinson’s progression is aerobic exercise. Yuck. Parkinsons’ disease sucks. Aerobic exercise sucks. Put them both together and you have misery to the second power.
Lots of people have the disease. One of the best-known Parkinson’s patients was Mohammad Ali. Yes, that same man who Bill watched on Friday Night Fights with his dad. Ali’s disease likely resulted from getting bashed in the head a million times. That’s my theory anyway, but I didn’t go out and get my medical degree last night.
While we knew that aerobic exercise was good for those with PD, we recently learned that boxing is one of the best physical activities. It provides plenty of aerobic activity, but it also helps with balance and motor skills. And since Mohammad Ali lived in the Phoenix area for many years up until he passed away, this area provides lots of PD-related programs and activities.
So, I recently googled “Mesa boxing Parkinson’s” and was delighted when something called Rock Steady Boxing showed up in my feed. It appeared that Rock Steady provided exactly the exercise he was seeking. In addition to boxing, they offer voice strengthening, small motor coordination and stretching. Yesterday, we went to check it out. While we were just going to see what it was like, he actually jumped in the deep end right away and gave it a go…..
I think in addition to the exercise, he will enjoy being with men and women who also have PD. There is satisfaction from being around people who are sharing the same experiences as you. As for me, it will be nice to talk to other care partners from whom I can learn.
Keep your fingers crossed. But most of all, don’t get on Bill’s last nerve. He will have mad skillz.