WHATCOM FAMILY YMCA


Helping you live better

Pedaling for parkinson's

Bellingham and Lynden Program Centers

I have been blessed to be an instructor at the Whatcom Family YMCA, staying true to our areas of focus and mission which is based on Healthy Living, Social Responsibility and Youth Development.  Teaching classes to our members enables them to experience Healthy Living, no matter what their health concerns.

I instruct the Pedaling for Parkinson’s class.  I have 36 participants that come three days a week and pedal for an entire hour.  These participants are devoted and dedicated to making their lives healthier and working towards lessening their Parkinson’s symptoms.  Studies show that Parkinson’s participants that pedal for an hour at 80 to 90 rotations per minute will reduce their symptoms by 35%.

This class has not only produced results for participants, but many have now cut back on their medications and have also begun trying other sports like golf, running, dancing and boxing.  The most important part of this program is that all the participants have made friends and formed a support group within each class.  They do activities outside of class and celebrate special occasions together. 

Some of our participants have reached a stage in their disease that pedaling is no longer an option.  This is devastating to the participant not only for the inability to control their symptoms, but because the Y is truly their support group and community.

The positive part of the story is that for those participants whose symptoms have gone beyond being able to pedal, the Y has now been able to assist these members through the aquatics program.  Our aquatics director is personally going to assist the participants in the pool with some one on one time, thus allowing their bodies to still move successfully in the pool. The Y will continue to try their best to accommodate all the need of their members.  We want to enable all our members to continue to visit the Y, as well as meet the needs to better their medical situation and make them feel welcome and still feel as though they are a part of our caring Y community.

The YMCA is thrilled to offer Pedaling for Parkinson's in Bellingham & Lynden. One of our participants recently said this about the program:

"On my 70th birthday, my wife and I hiked for 10 miles on the rugged Ptarmigan Ridge Trail in the Mount Baker Wilderness Area. This was not possible a year ago. . . I believe the Pedaling For Parkinson’s program at the Bellingham Whatcom County Y is the main reason for this change. At this time last year, my stamina was much less than today and other symptoms of Parkinson’s were more apparent. Currently, these symptoms are much diminished. Again, I attribute these positive changes to a year of Pedaling For Parkinson’s."