A WIRRAL gym is helping local people fight off the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease through a boxing and martial arts programme.
Parkinson’s Ninja CIC, based in Wallasey, provides sessions that are based on boxing and martial arts targeting Parkinson’s-specific symptoms, such as mobility, stiffness, speech and mental health. The gym combines Taekwondo-based floorwork elements and neuro-rehabilitation techniques.
The sessions, which started in 2018, are run twice a week by neurorehabilitation therapist and taekwondo martial artist Zoltan Varga and three other coaches.
Parkinson’s Ninja CIC based in Wallasey (Image: Parkinson's Ninjas)
Zoltan told the Globe: “There are no similar programmes or activities offered to people with Parkinson's on the Wirral. Our services, therefore, offer a unique but vital opportunity for people to stay physically active and seek out support during a very challenging time in their lives.
“Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are ways to better manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Parkinson’s UK promotes high intensity exercise as research has shown this to be highly beneficial.
“Our classes follow an evidence-based approach, enabling people, at any level of Parkinson’s, to lessen their symptoms and lead a more active, healthier and happier life.”
A session at Parkinson's Ninjas (Image: Parkinson's Ninjas)
This summer, the gym secured £9,623 as part of the National Lottery Community Fund, which will fund a year’s worth of sessions for the Wallasey programme.
Zoltan said: “The funding opens so many new doors for us and means we can accept more people who need our help into the gym.
“The people who come to us are so appreciative of the programme. People with Parkinson’s are often struggling with depression and anxiety because they stop going out and are suffering with symptoms which makes them lose confidence, feel ashamed and isolated.
Sessions are available for different levels (Image: Parkinson's Ninjas)
“With this programme they can come in and socialise and share ideas with one another in terms of Parkinson’s treatment and medication. Also after our sessions we have tea and coffee time where they can sit down and chat with one another.
“It massively improves their mental health. Parkinson’s is a progressive disease which is never going to go away but with high intensity we can slow down the progress and give them more time with us.”