Carson City boxing program brings benefits to those with Parkinson’s disease clients (video)

Trainer Cisco Rodriguez keeps a Parkinson's boxing participant focused and motivated during an exercise.

Trainer Cisco Rodriguez keeps a Parkinson's boxing participant focused and motivated during an exercise.

Jabs, crosses and upper cuts are going beyond the ring, especially for those fighting Parkinson’s disease.

To help enhance strength and endurance, Tazmanian Boxing Club is offering therapeutic classes to clients treating the condition.

“Speed, balance and coordination are some of the aspects diminished in Parkinson’s,” said Nina Vogel, boxing coach and physical therapist of Carson Tahoe Health. “But boxing reduces it because you’re working against it. It’s amazing to see the transformation.”

With Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” playing over speakers to pump up the atmosphere, clients warm up with squats and sidekicks before partnering up to practice 15 rounds of 90-second conditioning workouts, along with punching bag techniques.

“I hate it but I can’t quit it,” said David Smith, a Parkinson’s disease patient.

It sounds intense for a one-hour class but it has been beneficial. Since the program’s debut in January, at least 22 clients have enrolled and continue to grow, said gym owner and coach Francisco Rodriguez.

Although the program is building a successful client-base, one of their main goals are to continue expansion by bringing the program to Reno.

“The goal is to help make things better for them by making them stronger,” he said. “As a coach you have to know what you do and love it. You have to feel how they’re working and they love it.”

Bob Sanders was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2006, and began the program for Parkinson’s nine months ago. Since then, he and his wife, Barbara, have seen improvements in his health, compared to doing regular check-ups at physical therapy.

“We like to come here, I like to come with him,” Barbara said. “His health and balance changed overall.”

Tom Pecsvaradi, 75, was a little anxious before starting his first class with the program on Monday. By the end of the class, he had a different opinion.

“It’s a change with a lot of movement,” he said. “But I liked it and I’ll do it again.”

Vogel and Rodriguez partnered together with Rock Steady Boxing Inc. to expand the program to Carson City. Rock Steady Boxing is an organization that promotes the combination of boxing and therapy with Parkinson’s. The headquarters are in Indianapolis, Ind.

“When I discharged people from a physical therapy appointment, all I could do was tell them ‘good luck’,” Vogel said. “I didn’t like it. You’re limited by insurance and I wanted people to be able to continue.”

Classes are held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 4-5 p.m. at Tazmanian Boxing Gym, 1701 S. Sutro Terrace.

Classes are $35 a month and family members are welcome to assist. For membership information, contact Vogel at rocksteady


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