(WTNH) — In one Connecticut gym, the power of exercise reaches the body and the mind.
“It’s coordination and it’s cognitive,” said Lynn Hagerbrant. With every jab, Hagerbrant said she feels strong and alive.
“I feel significantly better after I box. It’s empowering,” she recalled.
It’s also life-changing for people like Hagerbrant.
“I have Parkinson’s. I was diagnosed in 2010. Exercise is medicine.”
“Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a very common neurological disorder that causes tremors in balance, anxiety, sleep issues, and a lot of other issues that affect day-to-day life for people,” explained Dr. Leon Meytin, from St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
Dr. Meytin, a movement disorder neurologist, has been treating Hagerbrant for years. They are both dedicated to helping people with PD.
“I am passionate about this,” said Hagerbrant.
In 2018 she co-founded the non-profit Parkinson’s Body and Mind, an exercise and wellness program.
“Exercise is crucial in Parkinson’s, it actually slows down the progression of Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Meytin.
Hagerbrant was inspired by Dr. Meytin. She said that “he [Dr. Meytin] motivated me by saying he had over 200 patients who did not have anywhere to go to exercise and we wanted to change that.”
Now, Parkinson’s Body and Mind is launching a boxing class at the Bridgeport YMCA.
“So we have several local YMCAs that have this program. This is the first program we’ve had for an underserved community that’s free for anyone who attends,” said Hagerbrant.
“She’s helped numerous people both with exercise and kind of portraying Parkinson’s in a light where it’s a manageable condition and you can live your whole life, travel, and live how you want to despite having this diagnosis,” said Dr. Meytin.
It’s a mind, body, and community connection.
“I am just grateful because I am able to help others because I’m doing so well,” said Hagerbrant.