Our Parkinson’s Team
An Open Letter to the Solid Stone Boxing Gym
On behalf of all us who signed up for your Parkinson’s Boxing Program, we thank you for taking a chance on starting the program for us, and please know that we are eternally grateful. You put together a special program for us Rope-a-Dopas with a terrific team to help make it work. We’re lucky to have a great group of coaches including Sue, Lauren, Donna and now Laura; and your mother May who makes sure that it all runs smoothly and also coaches. Not only do you all have great caring personalities and patience but also the professional experience to teach us how to box.
key to both our physical and mental health
Wow–what a milestone! Solid Stone Boxing Gym’s Parkinson’s Boxing Program is one year old. “Use it or lose it” is the fitness cliché that motivates most senior athletes, but our select group of Rope-a-Dopas knows a lot more about how regular and strenuous exercise, like the kind we get from boxing, is key to both our physical and mental health, stamina and (probably) longevity.
So, how did we luck out? How is it that Dakota Stone and Sue Taves came together on an idea to establish a class for us “special characters” right here where we live, on South Whidbey Island? Simple: We happened to be in the right place at the right time! But let’s give ourselves some credit also. With our sweat, commitment, and regular attendance we’ve made sure that our class remains financially viable—so good for us too!
When I look back over the last year, the first thing I see is Dakota’s mischievous smile as she dreams up the best ways to challenge our mental and physical abilities; helping us to strengthen our minds and bodies, and working to improve our boxing technique. I see her smile of pride and satisfaction in what we’re accomplishing with her help. And Sue’s reassuring presence, as she and all of the coaches maintain a watchful eye on our work-outs to make sure we’re safe and secure. Then I see Lauren and Donna, each coaching us individually to be the best that we can be. Their always-welcome encouragement helps us to meet the “no pain/no gain” challenge. And Mama-May’s cheerful presence, always ready to help us with anything we need. And, of course, we Rope-a-Dopas ourselves: What a great bunch of focused and motivated pugilists we’ve become over the last year. Good on us—all of us!
Pushing us to do more than we thought we could
After the first week of boxing, I felt there was a big difference in my condition and my attitude. I knew this was what I needed to maintain my health for as long as possible. Pushing us to do more than we thought we could has made a big difference. For me, a big part of the benefit is the social aspect and the camaraderie. I feel like I’m now part of a new family. So, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!
I found a supportive group of people who cared
When I was diagnosed with PD, it was obviously devastating. What to do?! I went the route of meds, which was discouraging, attended the PD support group and then discovered how much I appreciate Solid Stone Boxing.
I was given an article about how exercising helps. I began to look into other exercise and Dakota’s exercise program. She and her team had me hooked from the very first session! I found a supportive group of people who cared, individualized our training, and knew when we needed encouragement or help.
They check in on me if I am absent. A Monday/Wednesday schedule keeps me challenged and I look forward to attending each class. We are all blessed by their work and dedication.
keeps everyone moving, laughing, and getting stronger
Parkinson’s disease is a stealthy adversary. It’s an opponent that eludes most attempts by doctors and scientists to control it. Very few drugs have been of much help in the long term, although this is usually the first thing people with Parkinson’s disease try. Most Parkies use one or more medications and get some symptom relief from them.
The second thing that most people find makes them feel better is exercising their full body with big, expressive movements. Boxing is perfect for this! And Dakota’s program delivers that vigorous exercise in a social support group setting that keeps everyone moving, laughing, and getting stronger.
Boxing’s done wonders
Like every “Parkinsonian,” I realize that while movement is important, for me, exercising alone is boring. The Physical Therapy I’ve done has helped quite a bit for my lower back and legs, but Solid Stone staff’s technical boxing guidance and encouragement has really made a difference. That, plus the enthusiastic support of our fellow “Parkinsonians” loudly counting off my reps while I’m sparring with Dakota in the ring really motivates me! Boxing’s done wonders for my upper body, neck, shoulders, arms, and back. And with the serious workout we get on the heavy bags I’m totally soaked after our sessions. But I feel great!
What a workout!
Our program is designed to help Parkinson’s patients. A one-hour session two-times a week. What a workout! Dakota Stone and her staff are exceptional!
great workout and camaraderie
The Rope-a-Dopa class designed by Dakota and her staff offers such great encouragement to individuals with Parkinson’s. Though we might have different abilities and symptoms, each of us is considered individually in her program. By the end of class, I am exhausted but energized. The great workout and the camaraderie keeps me coming back.
there is a lot of love and respect
My overall reaction to our class experience is that it is wonderful. Dakota is a fantastic leader, and a great teacher. What really stands out for me is that she cares about every person there. She’s on top of everything and nothing happens by accident. For example, I have some difficulty walking. Dakota has never left me in a position to worry, or for another to be concerned about how I’m doing. Without my knowledge, she has often tasked another of the staff to work with me–and to catch me when I trip. She always takes care to support me when I am exerting myself in boxing with her.
Everybody in the class is on the same page. That concern for the well-being of everyone is mirrored in how we all work together. It is pretty amazing when you think about it. As a consequence, we all share in the camaraderie that results.
The long and short of it is that there is a lot of love and respect in that room. I am honored to be a participant in the magic of it all. Thank you all.
The Solid Stone support team is always friendly and maintains an upbeat, playful attitude which is a ruse for the serious work of training that goes on. We always begin and end with stretching and exercises. During the workout Dakota floats from one person to the next, offering direction and suggestions to improve form or better utilize the benefits of the various bags. Some of the exercises seem to be focused on establishing new pathways in the brain by either stepping as quickly as possible through a series of hoops or hopping over markers on the floor. I have a personal goal to improve my balance, and I feel like I’m making progress, although it is slow. Another benefit is the work on agility since my Parkinson’s leaves me with a clumsiness which surprises me. I keep coming back because of the positive improvement I feel in my body. Although it’s hard to assess which activities have the “most” benefits, there is little doubt that my boxing work is helping me arrest the progression of my Parkinson’s disease.
Dakota and her team do a great job
Dakota and her team are very caring about each of our individual medical issues while cheerfully encouraging us to meaningful boxing workouts. The footwork and balance training are helping my agility, and the boxing work has strengthened and toned my upper body. My knees used to ache for hours after racquetball but after boxing workouts they feel fine. While solo workouts can feel like drudgery, Dakota and her team do a great job of keeping ours fun. Boxing workouts should be helpful to most people with Parkinson’s disease. I think the boxing training is keeping me more active and slowing progression of Parkinson’s symptoms.