Rebecca Piatt, the Wellness Director at the North Brandon YMCA, along with Allen Burdett, Jr., a Parkinson’s client of Piatt’s.

Above Photo: Rebecca Piatt, the Wellness Director at the North Brandon YMCA, along with Allen Burdett, Jr., a Parkinson’s client of Piatt’s.

The North Brandon YMCA will begin offering the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program on Monday, April 2. The eight-week program is free for anyone ages 30 to 75 who is diagnosed with Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. A medical provider must provide consent and clearance in order for the patient to participate.

The North Brandon YMCA has space for 19 participants.

After the initial eight-week program, participants may continue, but they will be required to become a member of the YMCA.

The Tampa YMCA piloted the Pedaling for Parkinson’s program two years ago at the South Tampa Family YMCA after researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found a 35% reduction in Parkinson’s disease symptoms by the simple act of pedaling a bicycle at a rapid pace. According to Rebecca Piatt, the Wellness Director at the North Brandon YMCA, “The goal is to provide a program that allows Parkinson’s patients to dramatically increase their exercise tolerance and decrease their symptoms in a comfortable, social environment.”

The Tampa YMCA wants to expand the program throughout Hillsborough County. The North Brandon YMCA has the needed staff in place to make the program a success there.

Pedaling for Parkinson’s will be offered at the North Brandon YMCA on Mondays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. A cycling instructor with Parkinson’s knowledge will lead each session. Care partners are encouraged to participate, but this is not required.

The classes are driven by fast-paced music.

Piatt said, “This program is improving Parkinson’s patients’ quality of life. While it does not cure Parkinson’s, it helps to alleviate some of the complications associated with Parkinson’s and improves walking, tremors, flexibility, grip strength, motor coordination, posture and stiffness.”

Pedaling for Parkinson’s is funded through a grant, but the Tampa YMCA plans to keep the program going in at area YMCAs including South Tampa YMCA, Bob Sierra YMCA and North Brandon YMCA.

The North Brandon YMCA is located at 3097 S. Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. For more information, please call 685-5402.