people-haranHi, my name is Sue. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. My neurologist told me early on that exercise is being found to be as useful to the Parky person as medication are.

Lucky me! I love to exercise and Richard Pagel, a trainer at Boulder’s YMCA was interested in working with individuals with Parkinson’s to help us find the optimal exercise program for us. We would ride tandem bikes, shoot basketballs, practice fancy footwork and cheer each other on. It’s been almost six years ago now. I have been faithful about coming to class “boot camp”. I really look forward to it. I feel better when I exercise. It’s nice to have a class 3X per week and get to know lots of great people who unfortunately have Parkinson’s. And then there are the great souls, our instructors, who don’t have Parkinson’s who have chosen to work with us, helping us improve our quality to life.

For me, my biggest joy has been the camaraderie between the people in the class. We can get pretty goofy sometimes. Most of those who start the class continue with it. All involved have created a welcoming environment. It’s a nice way to spend your afternoon, getting out, connecting with your “tribe” and enjoying that sense of community.

Physically I’ve found that the class has helped me maintain my level of fitness and ability to move. I have noticed that many people in the class, who started exercising just a year ago, have made changes for the better with their walking, balance, strength and agility. So, over time we will maintain a stronger mind and body which equals a better quality of life for the individual as well as his family.