BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– A fitness boot camp in Boulder is catering to a different crowd, one that is exercising to fight the symptoms of a debilitating disease: Parkinson’s.

The class isn’t running for miles or pumping iron but they try to keep moving for 75 minutes to try to stay mobile.

The participants shout as they stretch, stomp and exaggerate every movement.

YMCA volunteer Gary Sobol leads a Parkinson's Boot Camp (credit: CBS)

YMCA volunteer Gary Sobol leads a Parkinson’s Boot Camp (credit: CBS)

The Parkinson’s Boot Camp at the YMCA of Boulder Valley is designed for people suffering from the incurable movement disorder.

The class was created by YMCA volunteer Gary Sobol who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008.

“I got to a point where I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t walk, couldn’t get out of a car,” said Sobol.

Sobol said he wasn’t ready to give up. He worked with experts to learn how to combat the physical effects of Parkinson’s. He learned broad movements helped counter the stiffness.

“And you teach your brain that that’s exaggerated but finally get back to what’s normal,” said Sobol.

Class participants don’t just concentrate on their limbs, but also shout to exercise their vocal cords.

In two years the class has grown from five to nearly 70 participants.

“I’m 74 years old and I’m having the best career I’ve ever had because it’s so rewarding to see these people getting better,” said Sobol.

The retired executive also has earned a loyal group of friends, “And every time I raise the bar with these clowns they react, say ‘Give us more, give us more.'”

Sobol is now training others to teach the class. He used to run marathons but says he’s now back to hiking.

He also is adding circuit training, yoga and dance at the YMCA for all Parkinson’s patients.

LINK: YMCA of Boulder Valley


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