MOUNT KISCO, N.Y – As Allen Asher puts on his boxing gloves and steps into the ring, he's amazed at his ability to move in ways he didn’t think were possible.
“If someone told me I’d be boxing today, I would have never believed them,” said Asher, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 63. Thanks to a collaboration between the LSVT Program at Northern Westchester Hospital’s Chappaqua Crossing Rehab facility and Rock Steady Boxing at The Lexington Avenue Gym, Allen and others suffering from movement disorders have been able to retrain their brains and learn ways to counteract their movement-reducing symptoms.
“With Parkinson’s your voice becomes less pronounced, your handwriting shrinks and your movements get smaller,” said Allen. Rather than waiting until Parkinson’s limits movement, The LSVT BIG Program at NWH’s Chappaqua Crossing promotes exercise-based therapy to develop healthy habits. Patients also benefit from LSVT LOUD, which pairs them with a speech therapist to help improve vocal loudness and speech. “When I do these exercises, I hear that voice in my head reminding me to try harder and to stretch further,” said Allen.
“The Rock Steady Boxing Program at Lexington Avenue Gym is a wonderful opportunity for graduates or participants of NWH’s LSVT Program at Chappaqua Crossing to continue improving movement patterns and overall function in an encouraging group environment,” said Michael Silverman, director of Rehabilitation and Wellness at NWH’s Chappaqua Crossing. “Whether patients receive rehab at NWH, exercise with Rock Steady, or both, they are being motivated by truly passionate clinicians and coaches who are dedicated to helping them improve functional deficits and overall quality of life.”
Caregivers of patients with movement disorders can also benefit from a unique wellness program, thanks to NWH Rehabilitation at Chappaqua Crossing. The center has announced a free Wellness and Exercise Program designed specifically for caregivers and their loved ones. “Instructed by a wellness coordinator with experience in physiology and personal training, this program is centered on the strength and wellness of the caregiver,” said Silverman. "There’s nothing else like it offered within our community. The strength, wellness, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness of caregivers is so important.”
Fran Gardner, caregiver and co-planner of the Wellness and Exercise Program at NWH, felt a need for a mutually beneficial wellness and exercise program for her loved one and herself. “I am excited to have an activity I can share with my husband – caregivers need an outlet for exercise and empowerment too,” she said.
The twelve week program will run from April 18 through July 6. Classes will be held twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For more information, click here.