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Tallahassee gym offers boxing classes for Parkinson’s patients

Over six years ago, owner Kim Bibeau made her gym a Rock Steady Boxing affiliate.
Over six years ago, owner Kim Bibeau made her gym a Rock Steady Boxing affiliate.(Michelle Roberts - WCTV)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee gym is offering a boxing class to help people with Parkinson’s disease live their best life.

WCTV went out to Sweat Therapy Fitness to find out how this class gives hope to those battling Parkinson’s.

Over six years ago, owner Kim Bibeau made her gym a Rock Steady Boxing affiliate.

“I’ve seen people in walkers that are no longer using walkers,” Bibeau said. “It’s this group that shows me I am doing the right thing. They are so receptive.”

Students work on their range of motion, balance, core strength, flexibility, posture and more.

“it’s that type of exercise and proper medicine that helps slow down this neurological disease,” Bibeau said.

There are four class levels to accommodate people with different types of Parkinson’s.

“Some will progress faster than others,” Bibeau said. “No matter where you are, there’s something we can do and we can help you find that.”

Rick Flaugher has been in the program for about a year.

Bibeau said he is a prime example of how the boxing class can help someone struggling with Parkinson’s.

“When Rick first came, he was struggling to keep up with the group. I told him yesterday he’s now one of my top performers in the class, and I’ve seen such a change in him,” she said.

Flaugher said he’s built confidence and the group setting is supportive.

“I’ve made a lot of new friends,” he said. “All the instructors are great and they keep us enthusiastic and moving and sweating.”

Ed Forster agrees. He said the boxing class has allowed I’m to work full time.

“My balance is better for the next 24 hours. My gait is improved, less apt to fall. It makes a real difference in your life,” he said.

For the last three and a half years, Forster has worked out there three times a week.

“This is not a workout class, it’s therapy for me. My occupational therapist told me to come to this instead of going to see them,” he said.

And now caregivers and Rock Steady Boxing instructors are in their corner.

“There’s a fight in you, and we are going to help you find that fight in you. We are going to help you fight back and slow this disease down,” Bibeau said.

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