Parkinson’s Disease and Boxing Rehabilitation

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.

It is characterized by a progressive decline in motor functions, including tremors, stiffness of movement, impaired balance, mobility and overall function. While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, there are several treatment modalities including physiotherapy and occupational therapy are available to manage its symptoms.
One emerging and innovative therapy for Parkinson’s Disease is boxing. Boxing training has been shown to have tremendous benefits for individuals with the condition, helping them improve their physical and mental well-being. In this article, we will explore the positive impact of boxing on individuals with Parkinson’s Disease, examining its effectiveness and various advantages

The Benefits of Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease

 1. Improved Motor Function
– Boxing training involves a wide range of movements that target different muscle groups. This helps improve strength, flexibility, and coordination.
– High-intensity exercises like boxing can help individuals overcome movement difficulties and enhance their overall motor skills
– Punching exercises specifically target the upper body and can alleviate symptoms such as rigidity and bradykinesia (slowness of movement).
 2. Enhanced Balance and Stability
– Boxing requires precise footwork and balance, which can help individuals with Parkinson’s Disease improve their stability and prevent falls
– The dynamic movements involved in boxing promote the activation of postural muscles, leading to improved balance control
– Regular boxing training can assist in reducing gait abnormalities commonly associated with Parkinson’s Disease.
3. Increased Cardiovascular Fitness
– Engaging in boxing exercises elevates heart rate and stimulates cardiovascular endurance
– Improved cardiovascular fitness can enhance overall health and reduce the risk of co-morbidities associated with Parkinson’s Disease
– Boxing training provides an efficient way to incorporate aerobic exercise into the routine of individuals with the condition, promoting a healthy lifestyle.
4. Cognitive Benefits
– Boxing training involves a combination of physical and mental challenges, requiring individuals to think strategically and react quickly
– Cognitive functions, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving, can be significantly improved through regular boxing exercises
– The neuroplasticity induced by boxing may help slow down cognitive decline, a common symptom of Parkinson’s Disease.

How Boxing Works for Parkinson’s Disease

Boxing training specifically tailored for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease typically involves a combination of boxing techniques and exercises. Physiotherapists with specialized knowledge in Parkinson’s Disease are crucial in providing a safe and effective workout environment. The training sessions usually incorporate the following elements:
1. Warm-Up and Stretching
– Prior to every boxing session, individuals will engage in a thorough warm-up routine to prepare their bodies for exercise
– The warm-up often includes stretching exercises to improve flexibility and prevent injuries.
2. Boxing Techniques
– Boxing techniques, such as punching bags, speed ball, and focus mitts, are incorporated to promote upper body strength and coordination
– Training sessions focus on proper form, hand-eye coordination, and maximizing range of motion.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
– Intervals of high-intensity exercises alternate with periods of active rest to challenge cardiovascular fitness and enhance endurance
– HIIT training is particularly effective in improving motor skills and heart health for individuals when completed in a controlled environment with a trained professional.
4. Balance and Coordination Exercises
– Boxing training includes specific exercises that target balance and coordination, such as ladder drills and cone exercises
– These exercises help improve proprioception and body awareness, resulting in enhanced stability and motor control.
– Improvements in your mobility and functional capacity are expected with these types of exercises contributing to a positive impact on your day to day functioning.
5. Cool Down and Stretching
– Cooling down after a boxing session is essential for preventing muscle soreness and maintaining flexibility
– Stretching exercises during the cool-down phase help improve muscle elasticity and promote recovery.


Boxing training has proven to be an effective therapy for individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Its unique combination of physical, cognitive, and social elements makes it an ideal exercise modality for managing the symptoms and improving the overall well-being of individuals and their families. With proper guidance and supervision from neurological physiotherapists, boxing can help individuals lead a more active and fulfilling life.
Reference List:
1. Domingos J, de Lima ALS, Steenbakkers-van der Pol T, Godinho C, Bloem BR, de Vries NM. Boxing with and without Kicking Techniques for People with Parkinson’s Disease: An Explorative Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. J Parkinsons Dis. 2022;12(8):2585-2593. doi: 10.3233/JPD-223447. PMID: 36245387; PMCID: PMC9837687.