A group of Parkinson's disease sufferers are using boxing to help their motor skills.
During a trip to the Mid-West last week, Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies visited the Geraldton Police and Community Youth Centre and observed the Fighting Back program.
Fighting Back is a twice weekly boxing program for people with Parkinson's. The 15-member group is aged between 55 and 85.
Boxing works by moving your body in all planes of motion while continuously changing the routine as you progress through the workout. For the participants, the classes have lessened their symptoms and are helping them to lead a healthier and happier life.
"I'd like to congratulate both the PCYC and this special group who are working to improve lives through boxing classes," Ms Davies said.
"We know sport and recreation has the wonderful ability to help people of all ages and all abilities, under all sorts of circumstances.
"I met one particular participant who only six weeks ago couldn't walk backwards without falling over, but after participating in the program can now walk backwards while sparring and stay on their feet."
The non-contact, boxing-inspired fitness routine is improving the ability of people with Parkinson's to live independent lives across the world, and the Minister said she was pleased to see it now offered in Geraldton.
Through the educational program LEAP, a group of multicultural teenagers act as the group's sparring partners.
"These teens represent the real meaning of 'true sports' by volunteering to help older people improve their physical and mental wellbeing," Ms Davies said.
Minister's office - 6552 5500