Henry Bourgeois was wrapping up his regular physical exam with what he thought would be a clean bill of health. Then his doctor asked him to take a walk down the hall.
He saw what Bourgeois hadn’t noticed – his stride was small and his natural arm swing was gone.
“I came back into his office and he said, ‘I think you have Parkinson’s disease.’” Bourgeois said. “It was bizarre. I was just stunned.”
Three years later, the 76-year-old Kennebunk man is fighting against failing health with boxing lessons.
Yes, boxing. Bourgeois is one of about 150 people in Maine – the vast majority of them elderly – taking part in Rock Steady Boxing classes in an effort to stave off the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Participants hit a heavy bag with jabs, hooks and uppercuts. They snap off lefts and rights on a speed bag. There isn’t any sparring or contact, but as certified personal trainer and boxing coach Tia Parady puts it, the 75-minute, twice-weekly workout is “purely what you think about boxing. Jump-roping, pushups and conditioning drills like you see in the movies.” Read more