Rock Steady Boxing is the first program of its kind in the country. It improves motor function through intense non-contact, boxing style exercise, adapted for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. Rock Steady Boxing, gives people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing based fitness curriculum.

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates there are more than 1 million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year.

Rock Steady Boxing is dedicated to the fight against Parkinson’s. The exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents. At RSB, Parkinson’s disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant.

Rock Steady Boxing is a national training program that has found its way to Little Silver, and aims to knock out some of the effects of the neurological disorder. Donna Singer, physical therapist and owner of Parker Creek Fitness, and physical therapy assistant Brett Ratner, are trained coaches.

Eighty-one-year old David Taborn of Ocean Township has been in the program since its inception and was so happy with the results he was getting that he recommended it to his friend, Anthony Suozzo, 78, also from Ocean Township. Both are thrilled a program designed for Parkinson’s disease is available to help them.

“I had been part of more gyms and physical therapy programs than I can remember,” Taborn said. “Then my wife, who was doing physical therapy here (at Parker Creek), told me about it. Now I feel a lot stronger and more active.”

It’s probably the only program that I know that treats Parkinson’s,” Suozzo said. “I belonged to other gyms, but the most you get is a trainer. People who have Parkinson’s disease have a tendency not to work out, but since I started coming here I feel a lot stronger, I have a lot more energy, I’m not as tight and I’m comfortable being here. I think anyone who has Parkinson’s, sitting at home is missing a lot. They should get out and do something.”

Both Taborn and Suozzo note that they appreciate coaches like Ratner and the volunteers who allow the members to go at their own pace.

Classes are held twice a week and run for an hour and a half. Each exercise in the program is done in 3-minute intervals, focusing on strength, flexibility, cardiovascular and core training. Activities include non- contact boxing with target mitts, speed bag punching, jump rope, jumping jacks and sit-to-stands.

Non-contact boxing inspired classes can reverse, reduce and even delay the symptoms of PD.

We are learning every day that there are ways in which people with Parkinson’s disease can enhance their quality of life and even build strength, flexibility and speed! By exercising with coaches who know the ropes, you can fight your way out of the corner and start to feel and function better.

These classes have proven that anyone, at any level of Parkinson’s, can actually lessen their symptoms and lead a healthier and happier life.

Parkinson’s causes a loss in many of the same elements that boxers condition to improve. And published medical research has shown that forced, intense exercise can reduce, reverse and delay Parkinson’s symptoms. We also know that a diversity of symptoms needs to be addressed simultaneously.

In comparison with other sports, boxing is the most physically demanding styles of training, according to a study conducted by ESPN and by people who have done it! But in addition to being an intense, diverse form of training, boxing is also an incredible stress reliever, confidence booster and FUN!


Donna Singer PT, MPA & Brett Ratner, PTA, Bs

Parker Creek Fitness

( located inside Fyzical 116 Ocean port Avenue, Little Silver NJ 732-758- 0002 )

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