Parkinson’s patients find relief, friendship in YMCA pedal program

Patrick Winkelman, 59, cycles for a better quality of life. 

"Exercise is the key thing that they proved through science that helps with Parkinson’s. More so than the drugs themselves," he shared. 

Winkleman participates in the YMCA Free ‘Pedaling for Parkinson's’ program.  

"It gives you more energy. You think because you are exercising you would be tired, tired afterward, but it gives you more energy for the whole day. To continue your normal activities. Helps you with mental energy too, keeps your brain clear," Winkleman shared. 

Winkleman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease two and a half years ago. He says the class has helped a lot. 

"Well, it helps with things like your tremors, which are the symptoms of Parkinson," he said. 

Ginny Lisle started the program. She says the stationary cycling group was meeting three times a week, for 60 minutes before the pandemic started last year.  

"A lot of times they come in and they have a lot of, you know, serious tremors and by the time they finish their class in 60 minutes they have fewer tremors," she explained.

The members are becoming a tight-knit group of peddlers. 

"I can come here and have some socialization, have the group camaraderie and also that kind of peer pressure of having to stay with the program," Winkleman said. 

A program that is helping to change the health and outlook of those with Parkinson’s. Two programs have started back up at the South Tampa and Bob Sierra YMCA’s. The Palm Harbor YMCA hopes to start back up later this year.

MORE GOOD NEWS: Download the free FOX 13 News app for more #WeLiveHere stories like this