By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There’s no cure, but there is a way to battle back against Parkinson’s disease. Some skills used while in the boxing ring are helping some people ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Ron Hoeck signed onto the program at Rock Steady Boxing, four months ago, after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The classes are being offered at the YMCA in Shrewsbury, just over the Maryland border, in Pennsylvania’s York County.

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The classes are being offered at the YMCA in Shrewsbury, just over the Maryland border, in Pennsylvania’s York County.

“Give it some power. That’s it. That’s it.”

Nancy Oestoeitz’s Parkinson’s is far more advanced. But she learned the basics of boxing without stepping into the ring.

“Every time I do it I feel better. I get better at what I’m doing. Even the boxing, that I thought I would never do,” said Rock Steady participant Ron Hoeck.

“It makes me feel better, and the one thing it gives me is hope, because sometimes the medicine doesn’t alway work,” Nancy Oestoeitz.

Stretching and balance are part of the program, and it’s been found to slow, and in some cases reverse the loss of motor skills and weaknesses brought on by Parkinson’s.

“And the more you do, you surprise yourself at how much more you can do,” said Hoeck.

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The program is helping Parkinson’s patients feel better by helping with hand-eye coordination, and giving people a source of exercise.

“Other motions can be learned by the brain cell and that exercise in itself restores some of the motions and mobility these people learn,” said Rock Steady Program Director Wendy Grunder.

“Give it some power. That’s it. That’s it.”

Concentration, effort, and repetition appears to improve the neural plasticity of the brain, which Parkinson’s attacks.

“But if they stop exercising the symptoms will come back, because it doesn’t cure Parkinson’s. It helps them control it,” said Grunder.

“Very much so. I mean I think it contributes to your health and welfare,” said Hoeck.

“I feel tired but good. A good tired,” said Oestoeitz. From good, hard effort.

The Rock Steady boxing program is conducted just over the Maryland line at the Shrewsbury YMCA. Classes begin January 9, 2017. Classes are also offered in Hagerstown, Timonium, and Forest Hill.

For more information on the Shrewsbury class CLICK HERE, or contact Nate Lankford at the Y at nlankford@yorkcoymca.org. To find a class near you CLICK HERE.

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