Today we are interviewing Meredith Ruff from Rock Steady Boxing. Meredith started boxing for her own health and discovered Rock Steady Boxing, a program that helped people with Parkinson’s. Her mentor had Parkinson’s and she wanted to learn more so she volunteered for a program and discovered they had a 60+ person waiting list. She saw how it made a difference in people’s lives and opened a Rock Steady gym in Hyannis Massachusetts with her friend Maggie. Rock Steady is a non-profit organization and it gives people with Parkinson’s disease hope by improving their quality of life through a non-contact boxing based fitness curriculum.
The mission of Rock Steady Boxing is to empower people with Parkinson’s disease to fight back. Rock Steady Boxing helps people with Parkinson’s, through exercise, strengthen their muscles and move better. Boxing is important because it’s moves are different, often unpredictable and not repetitive.
She has built a community for Parkinson’s patients. It is a huge celebration when someone is able to do something, especially when it is something they said they thought they would never be able to do.
A great example of this is when a client came in with a walker and after only four months, he was able to use it sparingly. Meredith noted that, although it made a huge difference in his life, it also changed his wife’s life. She did not have to worry about him as much because he had become more mobile.
Meredith and Maggie set a happy and fun tone in the gym. There is often silliness and laughter which is important because Parkinson’s patients may feel hopeless and sad and need an uplifting place to go.
At Rock Steady Boxing, Parkinson’s disease is the opponent. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share one common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant. In the gym, exercises are largely adapted from boxing drills. Boxers condition for optimal agility, speed, muscular endurance, accuracy, hand-eye coordination, footwork, and overall strength to defend against and overcome opponents.
Meredith Ruff and Rock Steady Boxing give people the tools to change their lives. Watch the complete interview to learn more about Meredith and Rock Steady Boxing.