Jefferson students mix exercise with Parkinson's instruction

Rock climbing, obstacle course highlight event
March 1, 2018

Two years ago Amanda Peters knew nothing about Parkinson's disease. Now she is dedicated to promoting awareness of the disease. An estimated 60,000 Americans are newly diagnosed each year.

On Feb. 14, Peters hosted a group of Jefferson School students at Rehoboth Beach exercise gym Rise Fitness + Adventure in order to teach them about the disease and ways to combat symptoms.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, according to the Mayo Clinic website. It develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. But while a tremor may be the most well-known sign of Parkinson's disease, experts say the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement.

“One of my pet projects is to promote the awareness of the disease anyway I can,” said Peters, co-owner of Rise.

Peters invited a group of seventh-and eighth-grade students to participate in circuit training designed to help Parkinson's patients stay strong and healthy.

“The exercises are designed to combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s,” Peters said. “It will probably look like a fun, bright obstacle course.”

For people with Parkinson’s, she said, exercise is more than just being healthy, it’s vital in their fight against the disease. “More than even the medication and therapy that they go through, exercise has been proven to lessen the symptoms of the disease the most,” she said.

Peters said students worked with participants in the Parkinson's classes, learning about exercises that keep Parkinson's patients healthy. They participated in balance exercises, strength and cardio training, boxing, and the students also got the chance to scale Rise's rock wall.