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The Muscatine Parkinson’s Support Group (MPSG) works hard to bring compelling speakers to its meetings to help members learn more about Parkinson’s and ways to slow its progression. On January 10th, the group looks forward to welcoming Kirstin Hawley, a physical therapist at Genesis Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine in Davenport, to learn about a revolutionary therapy, Rock Steady Boxing (RSB). According to Hawley, “RSB was founded in 2006 by former Marion County, Indiana, prosecutor Scott Newman, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 40.” She describes the program as, “a non-contact boxing-inspired fitness program designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s to help improve their quality of life through reducing the progression of individual’s symptoms. . . . Exercises focus on overall fitness, strength training, reaction time, and balance [and] will include [working with] focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, jump ropes, core work, calisthenics, and circuit training.” Over the last thirteen years, the program gained popularity and researchers discovered links between participating in RSB and delayed progression of Parkinson’s symptoms. In November of 2018, Genesis Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine began offering RSB classes twice a week. As one of the class’s teachers, Hawley saw just how quickly RSB caught on in the Quad Cities. In its first two months, the number of participants doubled from thirteen to twenty-six, and that number continues to grow. Now, the MPSG hopes to introduce people with Parkinson’s living in Muscatine to the program with the goal of getting more of them involved in it. Karen Schaub, one of the leaders of the MPSG, shared that she and other group leaders learned about RSB from attending the state Parkinson’s conference held in Des Moines this summer, as well as from more local conferences in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and the Quad Cities. After learning how much the program had helped people with Parkinson’s across the country, and how easily Muscatine residents could access the program in the Quad Cities, Schaub and her co-leaders decided to bring Hawley in to help members learn about this exciting treatment. This upcoming meeting of the MPSG will take place at the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Office at 1514 Isett Avenue, Muscatine. The meeting will start with half an hour of social time, beginning at 3:30 pm, and Hawley will begin her presentation at 4:00 pm. Schaub encourages anyone with Parkinson’s and their caregivers to attend this free event. Anyone interested in more information about this meeting, or who would like to know more about upcoming meetings (which will feature a variety of local speakers throughout the year on the second Thursday of each month) should call Schaub at (563)-299-2445. Together with RSB, the MPSG anticipates making an even greater positive impact in the lives of Muscatine residents with Parkinson’s. By giving them a new kind of exercise to slow and alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms, both Hawley and Schaub believe the can give people with Parkinson’s a fighting chance to strike back at their disease and lead fuller lives.
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