Local Gym Helps People With Parkinson's - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Gym Helps People With Parkinson's

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KENNEWICK- Contenders Boxing is doing something out of the ordinary to care for those in need.

The boxing gym just off of Clearwater Avenue brought the nationwide program "Rock Steady Boxing" to the Tri-Cities recently that works to strengthen those struggling with Parkinson's.

So how does it work?

The gym owners determine each persons skill level and place them in the class that best fits their needs.  Contenders currently has two classes. The owners Gigi and Tony Valdez say strength training is crucial to keeping your body healthy, and that the classes offer a lot for those diagnosed with Parkinson's.

"They're doing plyometric cardio. We mix it all together," said owner Tony Valdez.

Tony and Gigi were inspired to start the "Rock Steady Boxing" program after they were approach by a few people with Parkinson's in the Tri-Cities. After doing a little research on the program, they thought: "Why not bring it to the Tri-Cities?"

The program started just over a month ago and the owners say they've already seen tremendous success in their participants.

"We've seen huge strides," said Victor. "They're not afraid to do things now."

Ed Crawford is a participant at the boxing gym and drives to Kennewick all the way from Prosser. Crawford was diagnosed with Parkinson's about nine years ago, and during those nine years he could tell his muscle tone had really gone down. Since starting his boxing journey at Contenders, Crawford says he's seen improvements.

For the owners of the boxing gym, Crawford is a true testimony that this strength training works. They say he's already moved up from the beginner level to the more advanced class. And for Crawford, it's a clear reminder that he's stronger than Parkinson's.

All of the participants… becoming warriors; one punch at a time.

If you know someone or are someone struggling with Parkinson's, then the owners of Contenders Boxing in Kennewick would love to have you join their team.