Fitness for Parkinson’s
Steve Walsh, a long-time class participant through the Norton Neuroscience Institute (NNI), was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014 while living in Michigan and ready to retire. Shortly after his diagnosis, he moved back home to Kentucky to be near family, but did not waste any time making movement a priority.
Currently, Steve participates regularly in the Rock Steady Boxing classes, and Tai Chi. With Tai Chi, “I benefit from improved control over balance and walking. Definitely better than sitting on the couch for an hour!” Steve shares. “The boxing class requires more elements of cardio and strength training. Improving and maintaining strength and muscle mass is required for balance.”
Steve includes not just the exercise classes as part of his proactive approach to his diagnosis, but also monthly support groups and educational programs offered through the Parkinson’s Support Center. The Parkinson’s Support Center is a resource offered free of charge to anyone diagnosed with the disease. Other NNI programs are available free of charge to any Norton patient.
“As you get older, it’s easy to become isolated. In support groups and exercise classes, there is a sense of community” This sense of community Steve refers to may look different recently since going virtual, but is still a very prominent aspect of the classes. Recently adding a Parkinson’s specific Tai Chi class after reaching the 25 person capacity, there is still a waitlist for those who are at home and ready to log in to move with others.
“Every exercise class I go to, I see people that inspire me to keep doing what I need to do.” An unofficial advocate of the many programs offered through the NNI, Steve says he attends as many classes as he can and tries to help others find classes that will help them through their everyday challenges.
By Meredith Walston