This Is Carolina: Murrells Inlet boxing class helps people with Parkinson’s

Published: May. 5, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: May. 6, 2022 at 1:37 PM EDT
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) - A boxing class in Murrells Inlet is bringing hope to people with Parkinson’s disease.

Rock Steady Boxing of the 843 holds classes at American Fitness 24/7, owned by Colby Utt.

Utt teaches the class twice a week.

“It’s designed for patients specifically diagnosed with Parkinson’s because it intertwines the benefits of boxing with Parkinson’s disease and slowing the progression,” he said.

Utt has witnessed the positive impact the class has had firsthand.

“I’ve actually seen a lot of improvements in strength, coordination and balance,” he said. “So we’re trying to improve but if nothing else, we’re trying to slow the progression of the disease.”

One of the participants, Marjorie Baker, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s four years ago.

“Somebody early on had said, ‘Just don’t think about it.’ But there’s always something to remind you that it’s there,” she said.

Baker explained that taking care of her body while living with this relentless affliction is a balancing act.

“If you do too much, your muscles get very tight. If you don’t do enough, your muscles get very tight,” she said.

Baker admits the workouts are tough and often not the most enjoyable, but she notices a difference in her body when she goes to the classes compared to when she doesn’t.

“With COVID, I couldn’t go anywhere, and I really felt that I fell behind a little bit there,” she said. “So it’s really good to be here and do the things and just to keep going.”

The class also incorporates circular lights that change colors. One participant has to touch them when they turn red. The other person has to touch them when they turn green.

“What we’re trying to do is stimulate the brain by reacting to the colors and the patterns of the pods. It’s been really effective for our patients with Parkinson’s disease, and it’s been really effective with helping their reaction time,” Utt said.

If you or someone you know has Parkinson’s and would like to start taking the classes, click here.

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