In 2008, Joe Martain, then 56, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. As the disease progressed, he noticed daily tasks, like getting out of bed in the morning, becoming more difficult.
“Now, I don’t have that,” Joe said, eight years later. Now, getting out of bed is easier.
Two months ago, the Greene County YMCA launched their Pedaling for Parkinson’s (P4P) program, which takes place in a cycling studio on stationary bikes. After a 40-minute class, “You feel much better, your whole attitude; you’re more awake; you’re more alert,” Joe said.
“It loosens me up,” he said, “makes me move a little better.”
After just two classes, Joe said he noticed a big difference in how he was able to move. The Parkinson’s Wellness Program, in addition to P4P, helps Parkinson’s patients remind their bodies how to accomplish everyday tasks like putting on socks and get out of a chair.
P4P classes are designed in pyramids, Joe said. Cyclers work through target RPMs while increasing resistance on the wheel. “You can do about 12 miles in one class,” Joe said.
“You have to maintain because if you just let the disease go, you’re just going to lie in a ditch somewhere,” Joe said. “You have to fight it — keep going, day by day — it’s hard to explain what it’s like.”
“Use it or lose it,” he said, as if condensing his many thoughts on the importance of staying active into one, simple catch phrase.
Even though Parkinson’s is in the program’s name, Joe stressed that everyone should give P4P a try. “Why not?” he said. “It won’t hurt ya.”
“If I didn’t have the Y, I think my Parkinson’s would be a lot more difficult to handle,” Joe said. “It has given me the freedom that I think everybody should have, not just Parkinson’s patients. If you gotta find something to do, join the Y. Have something to do […] instead of just sitting around like a lump.”