ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — ‘Everlasting possibilities’ is how trainer Derick Gramling describes boxing, especially for people with Parkinson’s disease.
Gramling owns Team Lift Fitness and started working with people with Parkinson’s years ago when he read research explaining the benefits.
“As Parkinson’s progresses sometimes you lose your vocals, you get club foot, you can’t move as much as you used to. Your brain function slows. So with boxing, you have to think about the eye hand coordination, the commands you’re giving the person,” Gramling said.
He said the coordination required in boxing stimulates the brain, which is beneficial to people with Parkinson’s.
“It makes them think about it consciously, not just necessarily unconsciously, but it will do both in time, so it becomes instinctive just like blinking,” he said. “You might hear boxers a lot of time when here hitting the bag, they’re making nosies, you get it a lot people are like, ‘why are they yelling like that?’ but with Parkinson’s that’s great because now there’s exercises to strengthen the vocals, you want them to yell.”
Gramling said he treats his clients with Parkinson’s like he would any other client, which he said is what they love most about it.
“He said any time he was with me and we were doing the trainings he said he felt like he was outside of that box, he felt great, he felt like a different person,” Gramling said of one of his clients. “I don’t treat them and act as if they cannot, I let them know, ‘no you can.’ You gotta push them.”
He said other sports can be too demanding, but boxing leaves so much room for small steps and growth.
“Sometimes you can’t get them to run, but you can get them to step. That’s what keeps me pushing and makes me say it’s worth what I’m doing, it’s working.”
Gramling recently incorporated oxygen therapy to boxing. The person with Parkinson’s wears an oxygen mask while training, breathes in pure oxygen, and therefore gets more oxygen to their brain.