A Sheffield boxing club has opened its doors to people with Parkinson’s in the hope of reducing and limiting the effects of the condition.
Physiotherapist Karen Hodgson has teamed up with former boxer Glyn Rhodes to run speciaist sessions at the former lightweight's Sheffield Boxing Centre in Hillsborough.
Karen, of Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic, said she started the sessions after others at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane proved a success.
Together with the help of Glyn, she now runs weekly sessions at the Boxing Centre every Friday.
Karen said: “Evidence shows that exercise in the early stages of Parkinson’s can slow down the progression of the condition.
“I go boxing at Glyn’s gym and I asked how he would feel about setting up a class for people with Parkinson's and he was very accomodating.”
The sessions, which have been running since November, are enjoyed by members ranging in age from early 40s to late 70s.
They see members carry out pad work and general fitness.
Karen added: “The idea behind it all is that Parkinson’s patients are underpowered and they get rigid so by using large movements which are required in boxing, it helps ease it.
“There’s a lot of evidence that people with motor neurone conditions can slow the progression by taking part in boxing.”
Glyn, who was awarded an MBE for his services to boxing in 2013, said the group were making ‘brilliant’ progress.
He said: “Just to walk into a boxing gym can be intmidating for anyone so for these people who have got Parkinson’s to just come here and take part, you have got to take your hat off to them.
“They are having fun, they’re having a laugh and that's what it’s all baout. I keep telling them not to worry about forgetting things because even professional boxers have mental blocks.
“Mohammed Ali never let it stop him. He was such an inspiration and so are these guys for getting involved in what we’re doing.”
For more information or if you would like to take part in the sessions call Karen on 0114 2671223.