Rock Steady Boxing: Some Choices
Participating in Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) is the single most important thing I have done for myself since diagnosis five years ago. I wish I had started the day I was diagnosed.
RSB’s goal is to improve the quality of life for people battling PD through non-contact, boxing-inspired fitness training. Studies suggest that exercise is our best tool to slow the progression. Boxing fitness training provides an aerobic workout, balance exercises, strength training, eye-hand coordination, memory work, agility, and stretching. My personal experience and watching others indicate it works. So, let’s accept the fact that it is an invaluable tool that we need on our side. Many people, including me, believe that the fitness training that RSB provide has slowed the progress. Exercise is good for one’s general health. How can it hurt? Exercising is a powerful tool. Use it.
Variety of programs
I have been going to RSB for three years. Today I attend four classes per week and one day a week I work out one on one with a RSB certified trainer. For various reasons over the last few years, I have trained in 4 different RSB groups. I have learned that although based on RSB guidelines these groups vary greatly in how they run their programs. Because the training is so different from class to class, it might be a good idea to shop around and find what fits you best. What I have learned:
- This is a very structured class that more or less does the same routine every session. It could be stretching, speed bag training, heavy bag training, one on one (with a trainer) non-contact boxing, etc.
- This program is traditional training but with a variety of daily activities. It could be the traditional boxing fitness training plus added activities that change daily (for example, obstacle courses, memory games, and vocal activities). All are related to the various issues that we face.
- In this program, the session is geared more toward the boxing aspect of the training. There is more aerobic work than the other classes with emphasis by the trainer on intense exercise. The time is almost 100% spent on boxing fitness training. It can be tough if progression has gone too far. Don’t get me wrong. It is a great class, but you have to be in shape to do it.
- Some RSB trainers put their boxers in all stages of progression in the same sessions. Others have separate classes for different stages. The various RSB locations try to accommodate everyone but the most benefit is derived when people help. It often means a caregiver being fully involved. I have seen people in wheelchairs in these programs. They do great with the right trainers and cornermen.
These programs are from my experience only. Other programs have their routines.
The right class
RSB is a great program, but you need to get in the right class for you. I suggest you go to a class and observe, ask questions, shop multiple locations, etc. I have talked to people who have gone to one session and knew it wasn’t for them. What they don’t know is that the perfect class, for them, was right down the street. There is a class for everyone, but you may have to look around to find the right fit. Right now multiple choices are available in urban areas and more locations are opening all the time. If there is not a RSB near you, the RSB website lists the new locations.
I encourage everyone to give RSB a trial run. You will be in better shape physically and will gain a whole new group of friends. It is a kind of support group after a period of time. There are many ways to get the necessary exercise, and RSB is only one of them. However, it is the complete package with systems in place. It is a good place to start. Whatever you try, choose a program that you enjoy. If you like it, you are likely to keep going.
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