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Parkinson's patients power on with unique workout program

It's not your typical workout since most of the participants in this program at Reuter Family YMCA have Parkinson's disease. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

It's not your typical workout since most of the participants in this program at Reuter Family YMCA have Parkinson's disease.

"When I first got diagnosed, there were very little exercise opportunities," Steve Miller said.

Now, Miller leads Parkinson's Wellness Recovery classes to benefit men and women affected by the nervous system disorder.

"It's going to reduce the tremors; it's going to increase their cardiac capacity," explained Diane Saccone, director of YMCA healthy aging initiatives. "It's also going to help them socially and mentally, too."

Exaggerated facial movements are also part of the program to prevent an expressionless face, often associated with Parkinson's.

Seated exercises prove important, too. Studies show that Parkinson's patients who spend three times week on a recumbent bike for 45 minutes at a time have a 30 percent reduction in symptoms.

"It gives me hope I can delay symptom development -- there's no cure for Parkinson's," said participant Calvin Underwood, who was diagnosed last year. "The best thing you can do is take medications, exercise, and try to delay development of symptoms."

Classes last eight weeks and cost $40 for YMCA members and $80 for non-members.

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