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   Hooked on boxing

In my search for an aerobic exercise that I might enjoy, I became hooked on boxing. I thrive on the competition, whether I’m going for a new personal best while hitting pads my trainer holds up as targets, or fighting a succession of “opponents” on Nintendo’s Wii. Those Internet rumors that I have challenged Muhammad Ali to a fight, however, are greatly exaggerated.

For me, it’s all about wearing the red boxing gloves. Then, too, there is the emotional release that comes from a little visualization while throwing punches, and the comfort of knowing my trainer won’t hit me back.

Anxious to expand my boxing for fitness regimen, I arranged to visit the Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s program in Indianapolis. The instructor — a 20-something, professional boxer and proponent of “tough love” — had other ideas for me. She told me to “get taped up” and join the group for calisthenics. The fact that I wasn’t wearing gym shoes didn’t phase her one bit.

The calisthenics went fairly well with a few notable exceptions. Jumping jacks, which I once found easy, now seemed impossible to do. My arms moved fine, but my feet never left the ground. I vowed to work on these when I returned home. Jumping rope required more coordination than I had even in my previous life so I didn’t even try. I was sentenced to ride the recumbent bike instead.

Next came lateral walking in the ring

“Where’s the door?” I asked. The instructor lifted up the top rope and motioned for me to crawl under it.

I was surprised to find the floor in the ring to be soft and squishy. This made lateral walking even more challenging. When I tried to share my observations with the instructor, she told me I was there to walk, not talk. My charm was wasted on her.

My legs were like rubber by the time I crawled out of the ring. An assistant took pity on me and held a cup of water to my lips. “You’re just a visitor,” she said. “We don’t want you to get dehydrated.” I thanked my lucky stars I wasn’t a regular.








Hitting the bag

The fun was just beginning. My next assignment was to hit a heavy stuffed bag suspended from the ceiling. I had no idea these bags could weigh up to 100 pounds, and I’m sure mine did. As hard as I punched, the bag barely moved. The instructor told me to hit harder, until my shoulder burned. Too late for that, I told her, it already felt like a five-alarm blaze.

Hitting the speed bag didn’t go any better, even though it was much smaller and lighter. It was supposed to bounce backward and rebound toward me every time I hit it, which was never (not while it was in motion anyway). My best showing came when I boxed a lifelike dummy fondly nicknamed Parkie.

By the end of the 90-minute class I was both exhausted and invigorated. l Ieft the gym feeling like Rocky Balboa, imagining a crowd of adoring fans chanting my name, humming the theme song to my movies, and seeking autographs. Thank you Rock Steady Boxing for showing me a world of possibilities!



See the following links for other articles about the Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s program.

New Gym Gives Purpose To Punches January 23, 2007

Punching out Parkinson's at Rock Steady Boxing Gym
DAVID ALAN BECK;  February 14, 2007, nuvo.net/articles




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