Murrells Inlet gym helps patients Knock Out Parkinson’s disease with Rock Steady Boxing

Grand Strand

MURRELLS INLET, SC – You might say a new boxing-inspired fitness class looks to become a Knock Out for those with Parkinson’s disease.  Lives are being changed at American Fitness in Murrells Inlet where Instructor Nikki Shaffer helps her clients battle their way to better health in a Positively Carolina way.  

Punching and yelling are all a part of Rock Steady Boxing of the Grand Strand, a workout program designed to fight back against Parkinson’s disease.

“So they’re walking in with this awful disease or condition and it’s uncomfortable. And why am I boxing? What is this thing?  And so what’s so cool is that they get in here and in like five or so minutes we would see them light up because it’s like, this is kinda fun.  You see more people that are here and you’re not the only one in the world, ” says Shaffer.  

 Shaffer and her client 76 year old Jack McGeough got Rock Steady Boxing started on the Grand Strand in August 2017. McGeough says, “Everybody is getting some benefits from it. So I would not want to have to think of what it would be like if I spent the last five or six years not doing what I’m doing. I’d be in bad shape.”

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.  “Your handwriting goes, your posture goes, your gate goes, you have trouble enunciating, your strength goes, your balance goes,” says McGeough
But he’s doing better because he and others exercise with a purpose.  Onset of Parkinson’s usually happens around age 50 and mostly in men, but not always. Peggy Ryals says, “I joined this class trying to hold back Parkinson’s. I didn’t realize is that I could get better and do things I haven’t done in 60 years like 20 jumping jacks or jumping rope. So we all are getting better just holding back the disease from where it was.”

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, research shows exercise may reduce your risk. “A lot of this is getting in shape which is great. Getting them stronger which they need. Getting them out of the chairs.  Getting out of their cars, and in the bathtub, and working around the house. But also it’s the mentality. They’re happy, they’re excited. Where before it was like, what do I have, what do I have left.  And now we’re getting them to fight back and not be a victim, to kick butt. And like I said it’s unreal,” says Shaffer.  

The workout includes stretching, cardio, strength training, and of course boxing.  In the end, they dance! Nearly 50 people take Nikki’s class now.  They all say she’s dynamite, and it’s her excitement and genuine concern for their well being that makes all the difference.

For more information on Nikki Shaffer’s Rock Steady Boxing of the Grand Strand class call her at 843-318-5322.  Her class is held at 
American Fitness in Murrells Inlet.  American Fitness is located at 3334 US-17 Business.  You may also call the gym for more information at    843-651-1111 or visit

Nikki also holds a luncheon the last Saturday of each month for her Rocky Steady Boxing clients at On the Half Shell restaurant in Murrells Inlet. It’s located at 4500 US Highway 17 Bypass South in Murrells Inlet.  Their website is

There are a few other Grand Strand gyms that offer this class.  To find a Rocky Steady Boxing certified class in your area go to

Tidelands Health also offers a boxing class to help people with Parkinson’s disease, but it’s not affiliated with Rocky Steady Boxing nonprofit organization.  Call 843-237-2205  for more information about Tidelands class. 

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