Coach Kristi Richards completed Rock Steady Boxing coaching certification training in September 2015 as one of the final steps toward her dream job: coach and founder of Rock Steady Boxing Austin, which held its first class on Nov. 4, 2015. Richards scans the gym during classes, watching for the first signs of those who need help. She’s quick to offer a steadying hand, help someone glove up between workout stations — Meridith Devine, left, in this instance — or plant herself beside boxers, reminding them of punching sequences: “Jab, hook, uppercut. Jab, hook, uppercut …” Described as “electric and positive” by one of her boxers, Richards draws upon the Rock Steady Boxing curriculum and her background as a senior fitness group instructor to offer diverse workouts. “Just going to a regular gym, sure it’s great for them, but it’s a whole lot more fun to hit stuff,” she says of her boxers, all of whom have Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder for which there is no cure. But a growing body of work from University of Indianapolis researcher Stephanie Combs-Miller reveals something remarkable: Parkinson’s patients participating in Rock Steady Boxing’s noncontact boxing training are seeing significant improvements in balance, gait, mobility and mental outlook as they regain quality of life.
Rock Steady Boxing, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization, was founded in 2006.
See my Austin American-Statesman story about one of Rock Steady Boxing’s newest affiliates, Rock Steady Boxing Austin, at www.mystatesman.com/news/lifestyles/recreation/rock-steady-boxing-austin-helps-people-with-parkin/nqtGS.