Interview with Fred, the boxer with Parkinson’s
With Fred, it’s abundantly clear: this man’s an athlete. Muscular upper arms, fast on his feet, great technique. When he hits the punch bag, you hear it. I conducted this interview after a training session, over coffee. Fred and I happened to sit down next to each other, so I opened my laptop and began. Preparation is totally unnecessary – we train together, we both know what it’s about.
Fred, you’re a great boxer. Have you been boxing for long?
Actually, I’ve only been boxing for a year. I read about Boxing in the Parkinson Magazine and was curious. Not long after, I phoned Hans and Dini Louwerse to ask if I could come along to one of their training sessions. I received such a warm welcome! We hit it off immediately and there was an instant click with the group too. I started almost straight away. Ede is more than a half hour journey, but I go there no matter what, week in week out. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
What are the positive effects of boxing for you personally?
There’s no doubt about it; boxing is excellent when you’ve got Parkinson’s. Your condition improves and you become more alert. Boxing has even helped me regain my former positivity. Receiving my Parkinson’s diagnosis (at 54) was a huge blow. I’ve always been extremely sporty – I went windsurfing, played badminton, did aerobics, you name it. Things weren’t quite so easy with Parkinson’s though, I felt out of sorts. Boxing not only offers physical benefits; it also has a positive effect on your mental health. You feel much better all round. Being with my training group in Ede is like coming home.
Boxing not only offers physical benefits; it also has a positive effect on your mental health. You feel much better all round. Being with my training group in Ede is like coming home’.
Fred, the boxer with Parkinson’s
Boxing is quite tough, especially if you have Parkinson’s…
True, but the workouts are so varied and so stimulating that you never feel tired. In fact, both the boxing and the training provide such an adrenaline rush that you feel amazing after a good workout.
You don’t get muscles like that overnight: how much exercise do you do?
Lots. I begin each day with strength training, stretching and then another 5 to 10 minutes of skipping. I try to train every day, even if I’m feeling under the weather. I’ve set up a home boxing room in the attic, with a punch bag and speedball. That makes it much easier to train. I also do kickboxing training every Saturday. As you so rightly pointed out: I’m an athlete.