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St. Mary offers boxing classes for people with Parkinson’s disease


At St. Mary Medical Center, people with Parkinson’s disease have access to a program that helps slow the progression of disability.

St. Mary is one of the few hospital-based locations statewide to offer the Rock Steady Boxing classes for treating Parkinson’s symptoms. Medically trained fitness specialists lead the classes, which take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 2 p.m. at St. Mary’s Wellness Center. The $80 monthly membership covers an individual and his or her “corner man,” boxing gear and gives both people full access to the gym at the Wellness Center.

Parkinson’s is a motor system disorder resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Symptoms generally develop over time and progress differently for each individual. Some common symptoms include: tremors or trembling, stiffness of limbs, slowness of movement, impaired coordination and balance.

Rock Steady Boxing enables people with Parkinson’s disease to fight their illness by providing non-contact, boxing-style fitness programs that improve quality of life, as well as build a sense of efficacy and self-worth.

Parkinson’s fighter Joe Marino attends the Rock Steady Boxing class at the St. Mary Wellness Center once a week.

“Rock Steady is one more tool in your tool box to help you feel good while also having fun,” he said.

The trainers are attentive, giving each individual as much help as needed.

Marino feels confident that the classes are helping beyond what he was already doing for exercises. “I have an agreement with my trainers – we work together to keep me out of a wheelchair,” he said.

For information, call 215-710-6861.