By Dr. Erin Bailey, PT with Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers
Lee Accavallo is the last one you’d want to fight in the boxing ring.
He trains vigorously four times per week, and the sound of impact from his powerful right hook echoes through the gym.
But Accavallo isn’t training to knock you out. Instead, the 67-year-old is hoping to knock out symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Accavallo is a member of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, which offers Rock Steady Boxing group classes designed by medical professionals to alleviate some symptoms impacting the lives of those living with Parkinson’s.
“These people in here are fighting for their life,” said Accavallo, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018 and experiences nearly constant tremors on the left side of his body.
“These people that run this place change our life.”
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 1 million Americans.
Symptoms typically develop slowly over the years, leading to a deterioration of motor skills, balance, speech and sensory functions. Individuals with Parkinson’s can experience tremors, fatigue, difficulty moving and sleeping, dizziness, anxiety, depression, loss of smell, constipation, a softer voice, an expressionless face, extremely poor posture and other conditions.
The specific cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, and there is no cure. However, individuals can manage the disease and take steps to slow its progression.
Benefits of Boxing
Boxers have a skill set that includes superb balance, hand-eye coordination and mental focus. They must be strong, yet agile and quick-moving, and establish a rhythm in the ring. Meanwhile, Parkinson’s can diminish each of those skills.
By forcing the body into a workout that requires maximum effort, speed, strength, balance and flexibility, programs like Rock Steady Boxing may be “neuroprotective,” thus working to delay the progression of symptoms.
Terry Johnson, 67, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2014. An avid cyclist, Johnson bikes 30 miles daily or “only” 20 miles on days he attends a Rock Steady Boxing class. As a result, Johnson said the tremors he experiences in his left hand have not worsened over the years, and he hasn’t reported any new Parkinson’s symptoms.
“They say Rock Steady Boxing or any kind of physical activity will keep the symptoms under control,” Johnson said.
Rock Steady Boxing
Rock Steady Boxing offers a variety of classes not based on boxing ability, but rather the degree to which Parkinson’s is impacting participants’ daily activities.
Certified instructors lead Rock Steady Boxing classes, which begin with extensive warmup exercises before participants rotate through a series of stations. Participants throw jabs, hooks and uppercuts using both hands. Kickboxing is also part of the curriculum. Balance, flexibility, strength and endurance stations complete the rotation. All told, classes can last 90 minutes with only brief pauses for water breaks.
“I know that they’re working hard and they’re doing their best, and they’re motivating each other,” said Maggie Green, a wellness coordinator at FYZICAL. “Just seeing them progress is amazing.”
Rock Steady Boxing participants include men and women with varying levels of skills and athletic abilities. Some individuals have only recently received their Parkinson’s diagnosis, while others are experiencing severe symptoms and mobility challenges.
Although many are hesitant to attend traditional Parkinson’s support groups, Accavallo said Rock Steady Boxing is as much about the physical activity as it is the bonding opportunity.
“You’ll see quite a camaraderie in here; we’re a brotherhood and a sisterhood of Parkinson’s people,” Accavallo said. “It is very much a support group and an exercise class.”
About the Author
Dr. Erin Bailey, PT, is a regional director for FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, which has more than 400 locations in 45 states.
By Dr. Virginia Reed, Southwest Florida regional director for FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers
TV shows and movies often feature “super women” who can flawlessly handle all of life’s challenges.
The pressures of work and family responsibilities are no obstacles for characters like Lois Lane, Murphy Brown, Carol Brady and Clair Huxtable.
Viewers cannot help but be impressed with these strong female leads. However, we rarely see how these “super women” are helping themselves.
May is Women’s Health Month, an annual reminder for women – even “super women” – to prioritize their own health and wellness.
Finding a little “me time” can be difficult, but it’s essential. Below are four ways women can balance their health and wellness with careers, family and other life responsibilities:
Commit to an Exercise Routine
Any exercise routine, whether it’s informal or under the supervision of a medical professional, should include three components:
Strength training: Resistance training using weights, bands or heavy objects to enhance muscle function.
Endurance training: Long-duration aerobic exercises that strengthen the cardiovascular system.
Flexibility: Stretching to improve range of motion and strengthen muscles and joints.
The vision of the physical therapy profession is to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience. This positions physical therapists squarely at the epicenter of advising people on how best to initiate and maintain healthy exercise habits. This is especially true for individuals who have underlining medical conditions or a history of injuries.
Follow a Nutritious Diet
Food is the fuel that powers our bodies, so premium fuel results in premium health. Much like athletes that are hyper-focused on their diets, women must prioritize nutrition to maximize their performance as well.
MyPlate, formerly known as the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid, contains five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. Physicians recommend these as the core of any diet.
Some individuals cannot tolerate dairy, gluten or other foods, but luckily, a variety of alternatives are available. Consulting a licensed dietary nutritionist, especially as we age, will help address food-related topics, including meal planning, weight management, healthy cooking, food allergies, diabetes consulting, sports nutrition and digestive concerns.
Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
The American Heart Association lists four simple areas of focus to enhance your lifestyle: mental health and well-being, sleep, stress management and quit smoking.
Women are always on the go. Yet, it’s important to pause every once in a while. A few minutes of deep breathing increases oxygen levels in the blood, which increases energy levels, boosts immunity and reduces blood pressure. Oxygen is also proven to improve stress management, reduce anxiety and clear the mind.
Schedule Doctor Appointments
Insurance companies often cover the cost of annual visits to primary care physicians and dentists. In fact, they encourage those visits because early detection and prevention are keys to good health.
All doctors are devoted to improving our health and wellness. So which ones should you visit regularly? These five types of doctors should be part of every woman’s health care routine:
Primary care physician: general health, illnesses and injuries
OB-GYN: reproductive health, menopause and women’s health
Radiologist: annual mammograms for women starting at age 45, or earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer
Dermatologist: skin care
Optometrist or ophthalmologist: eye care and eye diseases
Physical therapists are not always listed among the suggested visits, but the role of a physical therapist has evolved over the past decade. The American Physical Therapy Association notes that PTs examine patients and develop treatment plans to improve their ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function and prevent disability.
Physical therapists are known predominantly for helping patients recover after injuries. They also treat patients with chronic conditions like arthritis, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, overuse injuries and muscle weakness.
Women’s bodies change after giving birth. Physical therapists address the musculoskeletal components of pregnancy and postpartum issues, including incontinence, pelvic floor muscle dysfunction and prenatal joint or muscle disfunction.
“Super women” can handle everything thrown their way, but they must make it a priority to strike the right balance between careers, families, life and personal health.
About the Author
Dr. Virginia Reed is a physical therapist and Southwest Florida regional director for FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, which has more than 400 locations in 45 states. For more information, please visit fyzical.com.
By: Justin Ceravolo, PharmD, pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy
It’s that time of year again – the sniffling, sneezing and suffering of allergy season caused by the telltale yellow dust that blankets Southwest Florida for months.
With longer and warmer seasons each year, the spring and fall pollen is literally and figuratively growing worse. Right now, the biggest offenders like tree pollen, grass pollen and ragweed pollen are blowing through our breezy coastal region.
These tiny airborne allergens easily get inside your body, and when they do, your immune system goes into defense mode. To combat these intruding allergens, your body releases a chemical, called histamine, which triggers a familiar response you might recognize: sneezing, itchy throat, runny nose or teary eyes.
If you are an allergy sufferer, you are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundations of America, more than 50 million people struggle with it every year.
In its latest 2021 Allergy Capitals report, AAFA placed a Southwest Florida region on its top 50 list of most challenging places to live with seasonal allergies. Cape Coral was ranked No. 33 for allergies during spring season and No. 35 for the months during fall.
So, what can you do if you struggle with seasonal allergies and Southwest Florida is your home? A few proactive steps to recognize, prevent and manage symptoms will bring hope to those with the seasonal stuffy blues.
Reduce Your Exposure
Before planning your day, check local news or the Internet for the area’s pollen count forecast.
Keep doors and windows shut to avoid pollen from coming indoors.
Delegate outdoor chores, such as mowing the lawn and gardening.
Keep floors cleaned and maintain air filters inside the home.
Avoid air-drying clothes and bedding outside where pollen can stick to it.
Prevent Spread & Symptoms
If high pollen counts are forecasted, take allergy medication before symptoms start.
After outdoor activities, change into clean clothes and shower to rinse pollen from skin and hair.
Remove shoes, jackets and hats at the front door.
Wipe pets down with a towel after playing outdoors.
Wear a pollen or dust mask for outdoor activities.
Nonprescription Medication & Remedies
Oral antihistamines can help relieve sneezing, itching and runny noses.
Antihistamine eye drops can reduce itching and redness.
Specially formulated supplements may support healthy respiratory and immune systems.
Nasal rinse devices, such as a Neti pot, can flush out inhaled pollen and alleviate congestion.
Oral and nasal decongestants can offer temporary relief to help with nasal stuffiness.
Cromolyn sodium nasal sprays can help treat and prevent allergy symptoms.
When stubborn symptoms persist, your pharmacist or physician can identify which over-the-counter medicines are best suited to alleviate your symptoms. They can also help you navigate your options when more severe conditions must be addressed.
Treatment options to manage allergies can range from immunotherapy, such as shots, to prescription-strength antihistamines, decongestants and combination allergy drugs.
In addition, rescue inhalers and other medications can be prescribed for people diagnosed with allergy-induced asthma.
Amid the pandemic, a case of the sniffles, or hay fever, is the last thing you want to stress over. While allergies can’t be cured, they can certainly be managed. Having a seasonal action plan that attacks allergies first is a good place to start, and will keep you from playing catch-up once symptoms arise.
About the Author
Pharmacist Justin Ceravolo is a pharmacist at Cypress Pharmacy, a compounding independent pharmacy providing pharmaceutical and healthcare services in Fort Myers for more than 40 years. Cypress Pharmacy offers traditional prescription medications and natural solutions to help patients manage symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. For more information, call 239-481-7322 or visit www.cypresspharmacy.com.
Dr. Brad A. Snead, medical director of Snead Eye Group, announces the grand opening of its new Cape Coral location at 1616 Cape Coral Pkwy. West, Unit 113, in the Camelot Isles Shopping Center.
The new facility is furnished with state-of-the-art equipment for the diagnosis and management of all aspects of eye care including cataracts, glaucoma, eyelid abnormalities, and dry eye.
In addition to featuring the latest in comprehensive eye exam technology, Snead Eye Group states, the new location has a full-service optical department with a broad range of eyewear for women, men and kids.
Snead Eye Group’s new Cape Coral location is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and accepts virtually all medical and vision insurance plans.
Seeing patients at Snead Eye Group’s new Cape Coral office is Dr. Allison Coll whose expertise is primary eye care.
Cape Coral Hospital is home to a new neonatal simulation lab located inside the birthing suites.
The lab will be used for training medical professionals on how to prepare for neonatal emergencies.
The Golisano NICU simulation team oversaw the setup of the lab. The team consisted of NICU nurses and a neonatologist who dedicated time to the simulation of newborn situations. This can lead to improved outcomes for the baby.
The lab features state-of-the-art equipment which provides feedback to the team during the resuscitation.