Pedaling for Parkinson's class slows symptoms of the disease

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - For the past year, Thomas Sims has been coming to spin class at the Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA.

"It feels good to get out of the house and do something for yourself," he said.

The class is doing a whole lot more than that. This spin class is designed for people like Tom. People with Parkinson's Disease.

"It's a hit. It hits you in the gut. You start feeling sorry for yourself."

There is no cure for the ruthless opponent he and the rest of his classmates are racing against, but there is research proving pedaling a bike slows the symptoms of the disease.

"I think getting the exercise in my legs helps a tremendous amount with my balance."

For Tom, it helps his balance. For others, it's stiffness, shaking, trouble projecting the voice, but something happens as these typically unsteady patients start spinning their wheels.

"In spite of aches and pains and being stiff when they get up every day, if they keep moving they will do better," said instructor Kathleen Bullock.

The impact goes even further than the exercise.

"It's just fun doing things with other people who have common problems," said Tom.

It just takes a little push of the pedal to get into motion.

"You can cry about it or you can get up out of your chair," he said. "if you can sit in a bike you can do this."

Click the link on the side of your screen to see the dates and times Pedaling 4 Parkinson's is offered at Knoxville's YMCA gyms.