I’d always been active, so after meds
helped stabilize me, I started investigating palliative forms of exercise. A study
by the Parkinson’s Foundation found that
people with the disease who exercised
at least 2½ hours a week experienced
slower declines in quality of life than
those who didn’t exercise at all. Outdoor
cycling on a two-wheeler was perilous,
so I took indoor cycling classes. Some
magazine articles and medical studies I
read suggested that boxing was a coming thing in the Parkinson’s prescription,
benefiting hand-eye coordination, balance and footwork. ;e irony wasn’t lost
on me. Wasn’t boxing legend Muhammad Ali’s PD ascribed to a few too many
punches to the head? PD boxing, however, is strictly solo; the “opposition” is a
heavy bag with a sand core and filled with
shredded fabric, or it’s a trainer holding
padded mitts for you to pound. Unless
the speed bag bounces back into your
kisser, you’re not in harm’s way.
“Boxing improves balance and reflexes
long-term e;ects for the patients.”
A study published in 2011 led by
IN 1967, THE YEAR I began college at
Stephanie Combs, a physical therapy
measures over the baseline at the 12-week
test, and showed continued improve-
ments at the 24- and 36-week tests.”
Boxing is “probably the most chal-
lenging” of exercises that can slow the
progression of PD, Lungu says. “And it
is more fun.” Now that’s a word I’d never
heard associated with PD.
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York,
Sahakian was born in Potomac to an
Armenian father and a German mother.
He attended Bethesda’s Walt Whitman
High School and Wake Forest Univer-
sity in Winston-Salem, North Carolina,
where he earned an economics degree.
He signed up as a management trainee
at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Rockville,
beginning a 20-year career with the
company that took him to Germany, St.
Louis and back to Montgomery County.
Feeling the need for a change in vocation, Sahakian started exploring entrepreneurial ventures and enlisted the
services of a franchise “coach” who suggested some companies that matched
his interests. One, ironically, was a firm
called Knockouts—actually a chain of
hair salons with a Hooters-type ambience. ;e other was Title Boxing.
Not seeing himself cutting hair or
running a cash register, Sahakian flew
purchase a “three-pack,” or the rights to
open three franchises.