Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition that afflicts an estimated one million Americans. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors, slow movement, and difficulty with balance. 

Additionally, Parkinson’s can cause a host of non-physical symptoms including depression and anxiety. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are many therapies and medicines that can help manage its symptoms.

Exercise has proven to be a great adjunct to other treatments. Research has shown that people with Parkinson’s who exercise 2.5 hours a week prolonged their quality of life. The sooner a person diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease begins exercising the better. While exercise does not slow the progression of the disease, it does help maintain quality of life.

A promising development in the fight against Parkinson’s is boxing therapy. Boxing therapy’s effectiveness results from the variety and intensity of training. A boxing workout incorporates strength, conditioning, agility, and coordination into a single session. The non-contact workouts are a safe and fun way to improve fitness and mitigate the effects of Parkinson’s. 

Below is an outline of the most common elements of boxing training, and some of the benefits they provide.


Basic Punches

The basic punches of boxing are the jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Athletes use these punches on the heavy bag, focus mitts, and during shadowboxing. Punches are thrown in combination and use a mix of distance, timing, speed, and power.


Stances, Footwork, and Head Movement

The basic boxing stance is a blend of offense and defense. It is the balanced posture that forms the basis for all other techniques. A good stance enhances balance and prepares athletes for whatever comes their way. Footwork is movement while maintaining the boxer’s stance. It enhances agility and allows for more dynamic balance work. Head movement is a small, evasive movement to avoid incoming punches. 


Even though boxing therapy is non-contact, it’s still important to work on defense. Good body awareness and balance are key to using head movement while maintaining a strong stance.



Shadow Boxing

Shadowboxing is the application of offensive and defensive movement. It is a pantomime of boxing that is often part of an active warm-up before more intense practice. It may feel awkward at first, but it becomes second nature after enough practice. 


Athletes shadow box to rehearse movements and combinations. It can either be a free-form exercise or follow specific patterns to help athletes polish certain skills. The blend of footwork and punches is a great opportunity for athletes to develop balance and agility further.



The Heavy Bag and Focus Mitts

The heavy bag work and focus mitts round out the basic aspects of boxing training. Their use help to refine punch technique in different ways. The heavy bag is useful for developing speed, power, and conditioning. Focus mitts develop speed, accuracy, timing, and distance. Both are great forms of cardio and provide athletes with satisfying feedback. It takes time to get used to both, but they are great ways for athletes to put it all together.


The great thing about a boxing workout is that it is easy to combine with many other forms of exercise, including traditional strength training and different forms of calisthenics. Boxing improves conditioning, coordination, balance, and strength. It can also impart a sense of empowerment too! It’s a great addition to other therapies and medicines in the fight against Parkinson’s disease. 


Check out this video to see a boxing lesson with Brian in action! 

Know More, Be Well with Body Dynamics, Inc.