A steady course

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There was a dunk tank outside TPP Fitness gym at Airport Plaza Saturday afternoon with a mass of people standing around it. But nobody ventured to sit above the water and, in fact, attention was directed at the front door of the establishment that recently relocated from Pawtucket to Warwick – and for good reason. Mayor Joseph Solomon joined TPP owner Rich Gingras, a former champion boxer, and members of the gym staff for some words about Gingras’ mission and to cut a giant red ribbon. Many in the audience have Parkinson’s and regularly attend Rock Steady boxing sessions. Gingras says that boxing is the perfect activity to slow – and even reverse – the impact of Parkinson’s disease, a disorder that impacts the nervous system and reduces motor skills. The wide stance required for boxing, the arm extensions required to throw a punch, and the out-loud counting during training exercises all seek to improve balance, strength and vocal ability. Solomon lauded Gingras’ work and from his casual conversation with those in attendance said he could see their conviction that the sessions have helped retard progression of the disease. After the ribbon cutting, Gingras invited everyone in for lunch. The dunk tank sat quiet…at least until after dessert.

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