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Exercise class to help mitigate effects of Parkinson's coming to North Iowa

Program created in 2006 by former Indiana prosecutor battling Parkinson's

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 9:28 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - According to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's each year.

Now, a new exercise program is being launched in Mason City to help those with Parkinson's maintain control over the bodies and brains for as long as they can.

Called Rocksteady Boxing, it's an exercise program started in 2006 by a former Indiana prosecutor who is battling Parkinson's. It focuses on all kinds of exercises, including boxing a speedbag, that focus on speed, accuracy, muscular endurance and overall strength.

Instructor Jana Mentzer's mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 36. At the time of her diagnosis, she says that doctors didn't know that exercise was important for those with the disease. While living in St. Louis, she discovered Rocksteady Boxing.

After becoming a certified instructor, she decided to offer the course in North Iowa. She notes that while it was offered in places like Council Bluffs, Des Moines and the Quad Cities, the unique program wasn't being offered locally.

"Nothing really north of Highway 30, and nothing really south of Minneapolis-St. Paul. This is an opportunity to put this program here at the Mason City Y and let folks, not only in Cerro Gordo County, but folks around as well can come and get value from the program."

And she explains that it's about more than just working muscles.

"Parkinson's also takes away your voice, so we do a lot of things with loud drills on their voice. We do cognition drills, we do dexterity drills, we do all kinds of things to combat the disease."

The course will be held at the Mason City YMCA Monday-Thursday afternoons beginning November 5th.

Mentzer adds that they are looking for volunteers to help, as well as another certified coach. If you are interested in taking part, contact the YMCA.

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