the climbGreenwood, Indiana exercise group “The Climb” helps Parkinson’s disease patients

by Stuart Mapes

Doug Springer considers his diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease a blessing, because it allowed him to extend a hand to others with the disease with his weekly exercise program in Greenwood, Indiana.

Now Parkinson’s disease patients can exercise and share their experiences with other people in the area affected by PD at The Climb – Greenwood, Indiana.

Springer founded the group in June 2011, and has led two classes each week ever since. The class does exercises that are designed to rebuild strength in muscles that have been weakened by PD. One of the class leaders, a certified physical therapist, uses David Zid’s Delay the Disease program as a model. The program is one of the few that is specific to Parkinson’s.

“We started with approximately six people and have probably twenty-five participants at one time or another,” Springer says. “And we are continuing to grow.” Participants can even get a ride to classes, and are encouraged to bring a spouse or friend to assist as a spotter.

The class meets on Saturday mornings from 9:00-10:00 in the morning at New Hope Church (5307 West Fairview Road) and on Tuesday evenings from 4:00-5:00 at Greenwood Christian Church (2045 Averitt Road).

the climb

Both classes involve walking, flexibility, and boxing exercises that work the muscles used in jobs PD patients have the most trouble with. Male and female participants have shown improvement after taking both of the classes. “Nine months ago, I had trouble getting out of the passenger seat of a car, and now after doing exercises that relate to obstacles like that, I just get out normally,” says Springer. He also recalls one participant who could hardly use his left arm, but after a few months of non-combative boxing exercises has regained much strength. “Boxing doesn’t sound like much, but it gives you motion, hand-eye coordination, and it gets you to stretch your arms out and bend your elbows.”

On top of the physical benefits from the class, Springer has grown close to new friends that he can relate to. “We are a very tight-knit group. We treat people just like they’re normal people. We don’t focus on the affliction to where they feel self-conscious.”

PD patients interested in taking the class or that have questions can contact Doug Springer by calling 317-888-4679. The cost for each class is $5, but the first week is free.

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