Punching out Parkinson’s at Seashore Highlands in Gulfport

The program is called ‘Punching out Parkinson’s’ and the name is somewhat literal. Residents at a Gulfport retirement community have taken up boxing lessons with a coach from Long Beach.

They won’t be going for any titles, but the improvement to their lives is a win on its own.

Coach Louis Callahan comes to Seashore Highlands twice a week to teach these seniors the ropes – and inclusion is a key word here. Callahan individualizes his interactions, modifying the exercise to each senior’s ability level.

Parkinson’s disease attacks the nervous system. In other words, movement can be challenging to those who have it. Callahan’s exercises help maintain movement range and control other symptoms.

Judging from ringside, he absolutely loves coming here to do this. “Well, my experience, just seeing the seniors being happy again, seeing them smile when they see me coming, and you know, learning boxing, keeping their hands up, learning the commands, it’s just exciting.”

The program is a one-two punch, because while exercise is great, these seniors are also having a blast. Mr. Andi Vitali tells us Callahan’s lessons are the highlight of his week. “The best part has been the exercise part of it. You start out doing dumbbell exercises, and then on, it’s all skills with the gloves.”

“You know, a lot of seniors get depressed, you know. They don’t be around family like they used to, so they don’t feel as useful as they used to. I want to get them moving and, you know, get their mobility better.”

Increased movement, strength, lung capacity – the benefits to these boxing lessons are endless.

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