Local boxing class helps people with Parkinson's

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- People living with Parkinson's disease understand a fight.

"I've had Parkinson's for 10 years," Dave Holthaus said. "When you get it, you have to learn to live with it."

Parkinson's, a degenerative disease, often causes tremors, balance issues, and slow movements and reactions.

"There's some long days," Rock Steady member Lanny McMahan said.

Rock Steady Boxing, a program based in Indianapolis, aims to help people with Parkinson's manage their symptoms by guiding them through boxing exercises.

"Being able to keep your arms up, your elbows up, and having proper form for boxing turns out to really be beneficial in helping you move your arms in every day life," trainer Adam Schroeder said.

Rock Steady Boxing classes have been in Manhattan and Kansas City for a few years, but Schroeder's classes are the first in Topeka. He became interested in the program because of McMahan, his father-in-law.

"I went [through training] with the intention to help him individually," Schroeder said. "When I was there, all the stuff I learned, it really felt selfish of me to not bring that back and help as many people as I could."

Schroeder guides members through traditional boxing drills like punching speed bags and heavy bags. He also works their agility and balance with hurdles and sled pushes.

"It's a tough workout," McMahan said. "Adam doesn't let up on you just because you've got Parkinson's."

"He's a brute," Holthaus said. "I didn't know him at all before we started this, but he's very good."

Not only do the classes help with the physical side of living with Parkinson's, but also the mental.

"It's nice to have something pre-scehduled with a bunch of guys that are friends of yours," Holthaus said. "It makes you want to show up, you don't want to leave them behind."

"If we had regular type people with us, it wouldn't be the same," McMahan said. "It's all designed towards Parkinson's patients."

You can learn more about Rock Steady Boxing here