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Parkinson's Programs

Life with Parkinson's disease isn't easy. These programs can help. 

Multiple studies have proven that exercise helps relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease (PD). 

That's why the YMCA offers programs that can appropriately challenge bodies challenged by PD. Participants in these programs have seen significant relief of symptoms and increased quality of life as a result.

Our programs also provide community for others who face the same obstacles. 

Get started today to reclaim tomorrow. 

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Parkinson's programs at the Y

Learn more about the supportive programs the Y offers for people with Parkinson's.

The YMCA of Western North Carolina offers three nationally recognized programs to support better health for people with Parkinson's Disease. Read more below.

Extensive research has concluded that cycling may provide symptomatic relief for those living with the PD. Researchers found cycling, especially at rates above what a participant would normally choose, appeared to make regions of the brain that deal with movement more effectively connect to each other.

Research also showed a 35 percent reduction in symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace, optimally 80-90 revolutions per minute. Fast pedaling is not a cure for PD, but there is compelling evidence to show that it does make a real difference in many who try it. Regular exercise is one of the key components in treating the many symptoms of PD and it has been proven that pedaling a bicycle may change the life of someone with PD.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s is a 12-week program that has been proven to show positive outcomes from participants in the program to include improved balance, reduction in symptoms and better sleep habits. It's useful for people with PD due to the balance challenges that many experiences. Indoor group cycling led by a trained coach provides a monitored and safe exercise protocol. The participant can pedal in a controlled environment while being observed as well as coached properly.


  • Be over age 30
  • Be diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease
  • Heart rate monitor is required to participate
  • Agree to periodically monitor progress
  • NOT have cardiac or pulmonary disease, uncontrolled mellitus, uncontrolled hypertension or stroke, dementia, other medical conditions for which exercise poses a risk.

PWR! Moves is a stand-alone exercise program for building everyday movement. The program meets twice a week for 12 weeks. It is performed with large amplitude, high effort and in multiple positions (floor/sitting/standing). Participants will learn how to use these exercises to target symptoms that interfere with everyday movement.

The exercises are performed slowly, rhythmically, and with sustained effort in a high-intensity format, as fast as possible with repetitive high effort. The exercises are linked together into longer and longer sequences that mimic everyday movements with progression of common dual tasks.

The program starts with repetitive training of four foundational skills that underlie everyday functions that become impaired with Parkinson’s or related diseases. PWR! Moves are always performed with high effort for bigger and faster movements while directing attention on “how it feels” to use your full movement potential.

The emphasis is on learning what “optimal function” feels like so that it carries over to everyday life. Participants will be both physically and cognitively challenged to “use it and improve it."


  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be independently mobile or have someone present during classes to assist

Rock Steady Boxing is a 12-week program that meets twice a week. 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.

PD is the opponent in Rock Steady Boxing. Exercises vary in purpose and form but share a common trait: they are rigorous and intended to extend the perceived capabilities of the participant.

Rock Steady Boxing classes take participants through a well-rounded workout that moves the body in all planes of motion. Classes begin with stretching then move on to core work, calisthenics, weight training and fast-paced routines using rings, jump ropes, frisbees, focus mitts, and other props.

Then there’s the boxing itself, where “fighters,” as participants are called, use footwork and punches in combinations to attack a punching bag -- and the disease.


  • Be over age 30
  • Be diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation estimates there are more than 1 million people in the United States diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and more than 60,000 people are diagnosed each year. PD is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder where part of the brain gradually becomes more damaged as the years go by.

The main symptoms of the disease are movement related. Various studies in the 1980s and 1990s supported the notion that rigorous exercise, emphasizing gross motor movement, balance, core strength, and rhythm, could favorably impact range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait, and activities of daily living.

More recent studies, most notably at Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and have begun to suggest that certain kinds of exercise may be neuroprotective, i.e., actually slowing disease progression.

Community building is also an important aspect of Pedaling for Parkinson's, PWR! Moves, and Rock Steady Boxing. Participants enjoy laughing, getting to know new friends, and sharing information about living with PD and related diseases. The camaraderie is palpable, built up through sweat and the energy of facing common challenges. 

Pedaling for Parkinson’s

Cycle your way to stronger, more reliable mobility with Pedaling for Parkinson's. Call to learn more.

PWR! Moves

This 12-week program challenges participants and enables them to perform day-to-day tasks. Contact us to learn more.

Rock Steady Boxing

Steady your stance, steady your hands, and pack punches with this fun and challenging program. Call us for details.

Parkinson's Programs Interest Form

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