Miller Center

A Shuffle in the Lineup

It’s the first day of baseball Spring Training at the Lewisburg YMCA at the Miller Center. While that could certainly sound exciting for fans of Major League Baseball, you won’t see any pro ball players here. There are no pitchers and catchers reporting to a sunny Florida town, no new prospects coming in from the minors, and no anticipation of the first game in the Grapefruit League. This Spring Training will feature local residents with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. While the trademark shuffle and hand tremors are how the disease often presents, the indicators vary, especially in the early stages. Speech can soften, arms might not swing when walking and symptoms worsen over time.

As the traditional organ version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” echoes throughout the Performance Training room, you can hear a chorus of “You’re out!” and “Safe!” as class participants, instructors and volunteers chew bubble gum while wearing baseball caps from their favorite team. It is not unusual for the look and feel of the class to reflect current events. Nobody here is preparing to win a World Series; they are here to strengthen their muscles to aid in completing the most basic of daily activities including walking, standing up and getting dressed.

PWR! Moves class participants following instructor Cindy Murphy’s lead during class on February 12, 2020.

Personal trainer Cindy Murphy, ACE certified group fitness instructor, oversees three different Parkinson’s disease fitness programs. Rock Steady Boxing uses a non-contact boxing curriculum that trains participants in agility, speed, endurance, strength, accuracy, balance, hand-eye coordination, and footwork. PWR! Moves incorporates exercises that target cardio, strength and flexibility and Pedaling for Parkinson’s is a low-impact monitored cycling class used to increase brain connectivity and a more efficient use of oxygen.

Martha (Marti) Gill of Mifflinburg has been a PWR! Moves participant for over two years. She said the exercises in PWR! Moves really help with her everyday mobility. “The thing I’ve noticed most is that my overall body strength has been improved. The exercises really help slow the progression of Parkinson’s. Even week to week I notice a change. I can really tell when I miss a class. If I miss a Friday, and come on a Monday, I can tell that I didn’t exercise.”

Since Jeffrey has started this program I’ve seen him become able to touch his toes, run, walk on a balance beam and dance.

Isabelle Sechrist

Isabelle Sechrist of Muncy has been bringing her friend of 46 years, Jeffrey Markle of West Milton, to PWR! Moves since July of 2019. “Since Jeffrey has started this program I’ve seen him become able to touch his toes, run, walk on a balance beam and dance. Jeffrey is here for both classes today. We started with Pedaling for Parkinson’s (cycling) this morning and he did 5.6 miles. We went home for lunch, and now we’re back for the strength class (PWR! Moves). These programs are a lifesaver.”

Ruth Greenly of Milton brings her husband of nearly 65 years, Gerald, to class three times a week. While Ruth has noticed that PWR! Moves has helped Gerald with his symptoms, she appreciates an unexpected benefit. “The socialization, and having someone to talk to, has really helped Gerald. Before this, his days consisted of watching TV, reading the paper and sleeping. Now, he really looks forward to coming to class.”

The Parkinson’s programs at the Lewisburg YMCA at the Miller Center are the only ones of their kind in the area. Fees are structured to emphasize affordability, and financial assistance is available. For more information, call Cindy Murphy at (570) 556-4191 or visit millercenterlewisburg.com/parkinsons/.

Ruth Greenly of Milton brings her husband of nearly 65 years, Gerald, to class three times a week. While Ruth has noticed that PWR! Moves has helped Gerald with his symptoms, she appreciates an unexpected benefit. “The socialization, and having someone to talk to, has really helped Gerald. Before this, his days consisted of watching TV, reading the paper and sleeping. Now, he really looks forward to coming to class.”   

The Parkinson’s programs at the Lewisburg YMCA at the Miller Center are the only ones of their kind in the area. Fees are structured to emphasize affordability, and financial assistance is available. For more information, call Cindy Murphy at (570) 556-4191 or visit millercenterlewisburg.com/parkinsons/.