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PASSION, PURPOSE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN EXERCISE. That word can represent different things to different people. For some, it may mean taking walks everyday along the canal. Others may view it as going to a gym three or four times a week and lifting weights, riding a stationary bike or participating in a group Yoga Class. But what happens when you’re diagnosed with a disease where “exercise” becomes one of your first lines of defense and is no longer an option but a necessity? That disease is Parkinson’s (PD). In the simplest of terms, it is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, more than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD and 60,000 Americans are diagnosed each year. The one overall message in all of the literature regarding PD is that exercise you do consistently will help improve your Parkinson’s symptoms and overall health. Some have even said it might delay the progression of disease. So now comes the hard part. Who and where does one turn to when they have Parkinson’s and are looking for the right 100


exercise program for them? The answer is really quite simple: Coach Jen and Rock Steady Boxing Flower City. While both are amazing in their own right, let’s first focus on the woman behind the program, Rochesterian Jennifer Schlegel. Even though she was born in Fairfax, Virginia and spent part of her childhood years in California, she came to settle in her father’s hometown of Pittsford, New York when she was in the

third grade. Knowing where she is now, and how passionate she is about providing the best exercise program for PD sufferers, it is hard to believe how she felt about sports and exercise at an early age. Jennifer HATED them. An occasional game of tag out side, or perhaps a friendly neighborhood whiffle ball match was okay, but that’s where she drew the line. She did not like gym class, swimming, or organized sports of any kind. She did not participate in the community soccer leagues in the summer. Jennifer

wanted nothing to do with any of it. It was not because she wasn’t athletic. In fact the exact opposite were true. Her objection was that she did not like being “up on stage” and having everyone “watch her” while she was running around on the field. That all changed when she was in the ninth grade and her parents “forced” her, as she puts it, to join an organized sport. As a freshman at Pittsford Mendon High School, she chose softball because some of her friends were going out for the team. At the same time her brothers were participating in Martial Arts, and once again her parents “forced” her to go along with them. To no ones surprise, she hated both sports. Jennifer said with softball she rarely played, sitting the bench during most games. Karate was not a favorite either, and she muddled through the first two years, earning the early belt colors progressing to orange and green. She would repeatedly tell her parents she wanted to quit Karate. Their response was she could, but had to tell her Sensei (teacher). She was not able to muster the courage to do that, and remained in the program. During junior year of high school, something happened that changed the way she felt about physical fitness, and ultimately changed the course of her life. Jennifer was

Profile for Rochester Woman Online

RWO May 2018  

Rochester Woman Online hopes you enjoy our May/June Health & Wellness Edition featuring the truly courageous, strong, inspiring double lung...

RWO May 2018  

Rochester Woman Online hopes you enjoy our May/June Health & Wellness Edition featuring the truly courageous, strong, inspiring double lung...