Giving Hope to those with Parkinson’s Disease


Rock Steady Boxing, a unique exercise program based on training used by boxing professionals, and adapted to people with Parkinson’s disease, is going strong at The Boxing Rink in Troy.

The program involves regular exercises, such as stretching, running, jumping rope, push-ups, and balancing exercises, as well as voice activation, cognitive thinking and fine motor skills strengtheners, along with lots of non-contact BOXING, led by experienced trainers and coaches. Rock Steady Boxing serves both men and women of all ages and levels of ability.

“We saw there was a need in the area with so many people suffering from Parkinson’s disease,” says Michael Martelli, professional boxing coach, CPT, Rock Steady certified coach, and owner of The Boxing Rink. “And worked quickly to bring this program to our area.”

Martelli hired Carol Schram, the only RSB certified coach in the area at the time, whose husband suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, and was personally affected by PD. Martelli then headed down to Indianapolis for certification.

Rock Steady Boxing, Inc., a non-profit organization, was founded in Indianapolis in 2006 with six participants. The Rock Steady Boxing Method was developed over the course of seven years. In 2012, the Training Camp was launched to help others with Parkinson’s disease fight back – worldwide. Today, there are more than 80 Rock Steady Boxing affiliates in 27 states, as well as international affiliates in Australia and Canada, with more than 200 certified Rock Steady Boxing Coaches in the world, and growing every day. It is estimated that 1-1.5 million Americans have Parkinson’s disease, with as many as an estimated 30,000 diagnosed in Michigan.

“We have always believed in the program,” said Rock Steady Boxing, Inc. Executive Director Joyce Johnson. “When evidence began to emerge that our method had a very positive impact on the ‘boxers,’ our mission became clear – to share our knowledge and experience with all people with Parkinson’s.  That is why we decided to make our training available worldwide – to train as many as we can so together we can improve the care of people with Parkinson’s everywhere.”

To further enhance Rock Steady, The Boxing Rink has incorporated yoga as part of its membership. Deb Colling, CPT and head yoga instructor at The Boxing Rink and Deyoga Room has designed a class specifically for people battling Parkinson’s Disease, “Deyoga Stretch for PD.” Research proves regular stretching and certain postures can help increase motor function, mobility, balance, strength and more.

In the 2 months since the program has been up and running they have tripled their members, as well as tripled their classes, now offering 9 classes a week.

“We have become a family. We have comradery. Our boxers know they aren’t in this alone, and they have support.” Martelli says. “We come together, multiple times a week, every week, and sweat together, scream together, laugh together, grow together. It’s really a priceless experience, and I am proud to be a part of it.”

To set up an assessment, contact Michael Martelli at 248-817-5243. For additional information about Rock Steady Boxing Troy, visit To find out more about Rock Steady Boxing Inc. and Parkinson’s disease,

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