A pilot study on the effect of a community-based boxing program on Parkinson’s disease
Roshni Patel1,2, Lucia Blasucci3, Abhimanyu Mahajan3
1Neurology Service, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, 2Rush University, 3Rush University Medical Center

We characterized the effect of a 12-week community-based boxing exercise program on motor and non-motor symptoms in people with Parkinson’s disease (PWP).


Non-motor symptoms, including depression and apathy, are common in Parkinson’s disease (PD), with significant impact on quality of life and independence. Apathy, in particular, can be difficult to treat with pharmacotherapeutics.


This was a prospective observational study. PWP underwent a 12-week designed community-based boxing program. The following assessments were performed by a movement disorders neurologist at baseline and after completion of the program: MDS-Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale part III (MDS-UPDRS III) modified version (since this was performed virtually due to COVID-19 pandemic), MDS Non-Motor Rating Scale (MDS-NMS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), Lilli Apathy Rating Scale (LARS), Parkinson’s Disease Questionaire-39 (PDQ-39), and Schwab and England Activities of Daily Living scale (SE-ADL). Pre- and post-assessments were compared using paired T-test; only participants who completed the program and both assessments were analyzed.


Twenty-four PWP enrolled in the boxing program, out of which 14 agreed to be a part of the study and completed assessments. All participants were ambulatory and functionally independent at baseline. MDS-NMS (p=0.003), HDRS (p=0.04), and MDS-UPDRS III modified (p=0.0003) improved significantly after the intervention. LARS (p=0.25), PDQ-39 (p=0.07), and SE-ADL (p= 0.16) did not change. Anecdotally, participants reported an improvement in motivation.    


PWP who participated in a community-based boxing program had improvements in motor exam, non-motor symptoms, and depression. Using a larger sample size, future studies should assess the impact of such an intervention on apathy.