LOUISVILLE, Ky. — People living with Parkinson’s disease can experience difficulties with activities they enjoy. An exercise class allows those with the neurological disease to move their bodies and meet other people with Parkinson’s disease. 

What You Need To Know

  • The YMCA is offering a Total Movement fitness program to help slow symptoms of Parkinson's disease

  • The free 12-week course is for people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease of all ages

  • Right now, it is offered at the Northeast Family YMCA and the Southwest Family YMCA of Greater Louisville

  • Program instructors are certified to work with Parkinson’s patients

Edward Heymann heads to the gym Tuesday afternoons to pump his muscles. But he also plays another role in the workout class. 

“I want them to know that they love when they come in," Heymann said. "That's part of what this is all about: the camaraderie that takes place."

Heymann was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease more than seven years ago. The neurological disease has affected his ability to balance, preventing him from enjoying some of his hobbies such as golf.  

Heymann noticed there were programs for people living with cancer and diabetes, but there was nothing like it for those with Parkinson’s disease. He worked to change that. 

“You see people talk to people, communicate with people who (feel) belonging," Heymann said. 

The Northeast YMCA in Louisville started the Total Movement fitness program in 2022. 

“Everybody's on a different journey ... maybe they're not running the marathon, but we're trying to slow down the process and give them a quality of life,” instructor Barb Millhollan said.

The free 12-week program aims to provide community for people of all ages living with Parkinson’s disease, which Heymann said is a large component of the program. 

“You're together," he said. "You know that you're now not an island to yourself."

Participants in the program work with a Healthy Living Coach to come up with a plan to stay active. Instructors are certified to work with Parkinson's patients. 

The classes are open to all ages of people who have been diagnosed with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease. Right now, the class is offered at the Northeast Family YMCA and the Southwest Family YMCA of Greater Louisville.