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Kindersley’s New ‘FIT FIGHTERS’ Program: A Community Stand Against Parkinson’s Disease

Stephanie Vandewiele, a dedicated personal trainer at Anytime Fitness in Kindersley, has launched the ‘FIT FIGHTERS’ exercise program, specifically designed to aid individuals battling Parkinson’s disease. The program, which began on November 20th, symbolizes a collective fight against this challenging neurological disorder, providing a fantastic outlet for many.

The idea for ‘FIT FIGHTERS’ was brought to Vandewiele by Karen Kornelson, whose husband lives with Parkinson’s. Inspired by the ‘Rock Steady’ program, a boxing-based workout regimen Karen and her husband attend while down south, she saw a need for a similar initiative in Kindersley. It was then that Karen approached Stephanie.

“Karen came to me in hopes I’d take on the challenge of creating a safe environment for her husband and others with Parkinson’s disease. I was honoured and accepted. I am not rock steady certified but after taking my strength and conditioning course and group exercise instructor course which has a kickboxing portion, I felt confident that I could create something along those lines for them,” Stephanie shared.

Karen then approached the Parkinson’s support group, asking if anyone would like to try out the exercises with Stephanie and they all said yes!

“I’m unbelievably thankful for this experience and I’m learning so much from everyone in the group,” shared Stephanie.

Currently, ‘FIT FIGHTERS’ has a promising start with 6 participants and their supportive spouses. The regimen includes a dynamic 30-second interval warm-up with battle ropes, heavy bags, and various kicks. This is followed by strength training stations focusing on different body parts and enhanced coordination exercises using floor ladders, pylons, and hoops. Each session concludes with a group cool-down and stretching routine. The recent addition of a speed bag to the class aids in hand-eye coordination and neurological response.

The program also addresses more than physical well-being. For instance, during ball-throwing exercises, participants loudly call out names, which helps combat the voice-affecting aspects of Parkinson’s. Moreover, the involvement of family members in sessions adds to the supportive atmosphere, assisting with stability and routine.

Participants have already reported improvements, noting easier movements and reduced stiffness. Stephanie, who also brings 11 years of medical experience to the program, expressed her gratitude for this opportunity, recognizing the significant impact of such initiatives. “Maybe my little group of fighters can spread awareness right here in Kindersley,” she shared.

If you or someone you know would like to participate in FIT Fighters please reach out to Stephanie at sunsetfitnessaf@gmail.com

Currently, more than 100,000 Canadians live with Parkinson’s and 30 more are diagnosed every day. If you have Parkinson’s, know someone that has or just want information the Kindersley Parkinson’s Support Group Meetings are held the second Wednesday of the month at 2 p.m. at the Kindersley Hospital. Everyone is welcome! For more info call Nancy at 306-463-4514



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