Parkinson's won't stop them from floating like a butterfly or stinging like a bee

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It can take a second to realize it, but everyone at the Rock Steady Boxing class in St. Joseph County has Parkinson's.

But no one is letting the disease stop them from being able to float like a butterfly or sting like a bee.

"The progress I made after the first session was unbelievable," said class-member John Hrycko. "I had really sore wrists, I could hardly move my wrists. After the first session here, I was totally spent. I went to bed and could hardly move. I woke up the next day, and the pain was totally gone in my wrists. It's unbelievable."

The training at the class is similar to what most boxers would do.

There's stretching, running, and of course punching. All of which goes a long way towards improving agility, balance and strength.

"The unique thing about this program is that it uses so many different muscles," said Dr. Michael Englert, a local neurologist. "It's not repetitive like getting on a treadmill every day or an elliptical machine."

"When I first came to this class, I would really hate the thought of going," said Richard Karuse. "I really couldn't stand it because it's so much, almost pain. But once I started doing the exercises, I was so glad I came."

Maybe just as important as all the physical benefits of this class, are the emotional ones.

"It's the best inspiration," said Don Sheliga next to his wife Linda, who helped start Rock Steady Boxing Michiana. "All of these people just met each other within a month and they act like brothers now. It's just a friendly group, just a great bunch of people."

"Many of us don't want to admit to having Parkinson's," Hrycko said. "But once we do, there's a lot of things we can do. We may not be able to get much better, but we can improve the equability of life by keeping busy and staying active."

Anyone interested in more information about the classes can find that HERE.

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