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ymca senior programs

Growing Stronger Every Day

Joe found the Rock Steady Boxing program at the West Shore YMCA through his daughter. He had been living with Parkinson’s disease, and she thought that he would enjoy going to the classes with his wife, Irene. When Joe started the class, he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “He was a little apprehensive,” said Irene. “It took him a few classes to find his groove, but it was certainly worth it.”

John Blymier is one of the coaching staff for the Rock Steady Boxing program and has worked with Joe throughout the year during class. “Joe is a hard worker, and he really excelled in class,” said John. “You could tell that Joe was giving it his all, and that he truly wanted to make changes in his physical health.”

Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork, and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At Rock Steady Boxing, Parkinson’s disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities
of the participant.

“It was amazing,” said Irene. “All it took was that first punch. John asked the class to visualize the disease in front of them, on the heavy bag, and hit it as hard as they could. The look on their faces it just opened them up. To physically push against that barrier, it was incredible to see.”

Joe and his friends in class have been working hard all year to push through and take action against the disease that has taken so much from them. “The biggest thing I felt was frustration with my voice,” said Joe. “I used to be in radio, and now I’ve developed a stutter which did upset me. Using Rock Steady Boxing to work on that frustration has been a big help.”

“We just can’t say enough about the program and the instructors,” said Irene. “John and Christina are absolutely wonderful. No one is made to feel bad about limitations, and yet they push the class to try again, every time. It’s a wonderful program, and we are so grateful to the YMCA for making it possible.”

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