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Lethbridge boxing club punching back against Parkinson’s disease

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Lethbridge Dopamine Boxing punching back against Parkinson’s disease
A Lethbridge group is helping people with Parkinson’s disease fight back. Erik Bay shows us how Dopamine Boxing is working to improve their mental and physical health. – Nov 25, 2022

Lethbridge Dopamine Boxing is knocking Parkinson’s disease to the canvas.

The group helps people living with the disorder that progressively affects the nervous system.

“Part of the issues they deal with are inactivity,” said Chris Campbell, who coaches the program. “With the dopamine receptors dying off and just general neurotransmitters going lower, there’s a lot of anxiety and depression.”

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Campbell puts participants through boxing-style fitness classes. Training includes groups activities, stretching and boxing circuits, including bag work and hitting pads held by instructors.

The goal is improving both the physical and mental quality of life.

“When we’re engaging in these activities, we see that they have a boost of dopamine and serotonin, which works with their medication to retain the dopamine receptors,” Campbell said.

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According to the Parkinson Association of Alberta (PAA), an estimated 15,000 Albertans are living with the disease.

PAA client services coordinator Brienne Leclaire says groups like Lethbridge Dopamine Boxing gives people a way to fight back.

“Exercise is important for everybody,” Leclaire said. “For Parkinson’s, it can help people manage their Parkinson’s symptoms, improve balance, increase strength and range of motion, and just maintain those physical abilities.”

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“We had a gentleman who couldn’t dress himself for ten years. He had Parkinson’s a few years longer than that,” Campbell said. “After three months of working with us, he had built up the cardio-respiratory and muscular strength to engage in those activities.”

There’s still no cure for Parkinson’s, but Dopamine Boxing intends to keep the disease on the ropes.

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