The practice of boxing, alone, would improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease.
- Parkinson’s disease has significant consequences on daily life.
- According to a new study, boxing would reduce the impact of the disease on daily life.
- In the test, it was practiced alone, without impact, thanks to a machine.
270,000 people suffer from Parkinson’s disease in France. This neurodegenerative pathology has a significant impact on quality of life, and this worsens with the progression of the disease. Around the world, researchers are working on techniques to slow down its progression and make life easier for patients. In a study published on May 2, scientists demonstrate that sport can be beneficial for sufferers: according to their trial, the practice of boxing improves the quality of life of patients. Their findings appeared in PM&R.
How to understand the effects of boxing on Parkinson’s disease?
This work was carried out with a small sample of participants: ten people with early-stage Parkinson’s disease. For fifteen weeks, they followed a specific program: three weekly training sessions of one hour. “Each session included a warm-up and ten rounds of non-contact boxing with a machine., note the authors. The latter consists of targets mounted on a support.
The program was divided into three blocks of five weeks: the first focused on training technique, the second on intensity and the last on brain work. Dr Travis Cruickshank from the Perron Institute of Neurology (Australia) adds: “We used heart rate monitors throughout the trial in order to be able to see the cardiovascular load of our participants, we also used scales that measured their perceived levels of exertion from a physical and cognitive point of view.”
Parkinson’s disease: an improvement in fifteen weeks thanks to boxing
After these 15 weeks, nine of the 10 participants improved their score on the Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, a tool used to measure the progression and severity of the disease. They also reported reduced fatigue and improved sleep. While the training was sometimes intensive, no one reported muscle soreness or injury. The ten participants all managed to complete the program, following almost all of the sessions. “In fact, after completing the study, they all decided to buy the machine and have it installed at their home.“, says Dr. Cruickshank.
Boxing: a sport that combines different benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease
According to this specialist, the practice of this sport has several benefits for people with Parkinson’s disease. “In the past I’ve worked with people with Parkinson’s and we did exercises in a gym and then a computerized cognitive training program and another for the social aspect, he explains. With boxing we can combine all of thisHe believes that programs could be offered at home or in specialized establishments. Before that, other trials will be carried out with larger groups of participants to confirm these results.