Rock Steady Boxing Rocktown aims to punch out Parkinson's

Published: Jan. 18, 2019 at 8:01 PM EST
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Starting this week, Parkinson's patients in Harrisonburg are fighting and punching back against the disease.


has partnered with Rock Steady Boxing Rocktown to offer non-contact boxing classes for Parkinson's patients.

According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, more than 60,000 people are diagnosed with the incurable nervous system disease every year. However, those statistics are not stopping the fighters at


"We are applying the science that exercise can help the brain in a healthy person, or someone with a disease like Parkinson's, and applying that with boxing training," said Randy Simpson, Head Coach at Rock Steady Boxing Rocktown at VMRC. "Boxing training works to improve the specific things that Parkinson's can make difficult."

The class combines physical training with cognitive challenges and takes the fighters through a host of high intensity stations.

"It gives you elevated heart rate, lots of multi-directional movement, speed, agility, balance, lots of coordination, accuracy, attentive focus, and we throw in games to make it a challenge, too," said Simpson.

Staff from the VMRC's Wellness Center are co-instructors along with Simpson and assist with fighting techniques and encouragement.

"Hopefully when they go home, they're going to see the benefits that come from it," said Melinda Noland, Director at VMRC's Wellness Center. "It can be with their walking, their speech, or their tremors."

The VMRC is the only fitness center in the area for people ages 50 and above. For more information about the class, click