People with Parkinson's find community through exercise

TUCSON, Ariz. - People with Parkinson's are coming together through a local gym. Research shows exercise may slow down the progression of the disease. 

Richard Marcello noticed last year he was moving slower than he used to. 

He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. There is no cure, but Marcello has seen firsthand how exercise can help improve simple functions we take for granted.

"A lot of it is stretching," Marcello said. "You see people with Parkinson's, and they move slowly... they're kind of bend over, they lean forward, they risk falling."

He started going to Parkinson's Wellness Recovery, or PWR -- a gym where people with the disease come together. 

Kimberly Peute with PWR says research shows people with Parkinson's who incorporate exercise have a better quality of life. 

"For a lot of people, there's a stigma of having a tremor, or freezing when they try and walk," Peute said. "And when you're at the gym with other people who suffer similar symptoms, or who are working on similar goals, you can really be yourself."

Peute says a common feeling is isolation, which PWR combats with regular social events. The gym's annual PWR in the Park event was held Saturday at Reid Park for members and their families.

Marcello has seen his balance and speed improve by boxing, stretching, and doing Tai Chi. 

By keeping people with Parkinson's moving, PWR is also giving them hope. 

"Hope that they can stay better, hope that they can stay better longer, and hope that they can continue doing the things that they love to do," Peute said.

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