New Online Fitness Classes Empowering People Living with Parkinson’s

Empower-U logo

When the pandemic shut down all of their classes in , the folks behind U-Turn Parkinson’s weren’t sure how it would impact their Winnipeg wellness centre. Founder, Tim Hague, Sr. started U-Turn Parkinson’s with a mission to empower people living with Parkinson’s in their pursuit of overall wellness.

As a career nurse and someone diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s in , Tim knows the importance of exercise to the community. He wasn’t going to let the pandemic get in the way of the organization’s ability to support them. Showing the same spirit that helped him and his son win the Amazing Race Canada, it didn’t take him and his team long to pivot.

“We made an immediate shift. Within two weeks, we had all of our classes online, and we were shooting them on our iPhones,” Tim explains. “One teacher was teaching classes from her basement, another from her kitchen.”

The idea of online classes was not something that Tim would have envisioned when he founded U-Turn Parkinson’s in . “I don’t think anyone would have been interested in online classes, pre-pandemic.”

Today, with the pandemic still very much a threat, it’s a different story.

“Our demographic is older. Many in our community have a deep concern about coming back to live classes. Others say they just find it more convenient to participate in the comfort of their own home,” says Tim.

Tim Hague
Tim Hague, Sr., founder of U-Turn Parkinson’s

To meet the ongoing demand for online fitness, U-Turn Parkinson’s is launching a new online fitness community initiative called Empower-U.

The Empower-U offering will be in addition to the on-demand classes already offered by U-Turn Parkinson’s, which Tim points out have been available 24/7 throughout the pandemic. In-person activities will also continue, including outdoor cycling groups, which the hardiest members are devoted to, even during the rigours of a Winnipeg winter.

Empower-U is a live online exercise class providing the best in Parkinson’s specific exercises, which Tim says will keep people moving no matter what stage of Parkinson’s or what fitness level they are at. It is free of charge and available online to anyone across the country.

Tim points out that it can be difficult for individuals living with Parkinson’s to find an exercise program that they feel comfortable with.

“Some people in our community have never been gym-goers or haven’t been for years. They don’t know where to start – they don’t want to overdo it. And Parkinson’s is a disease that can make us feel very conspicuous because of tremors and dyskinesias. It can be a huge barrier to exercise.”

The first live online Empower-U class being offered is a boxing-inspired class that is “fun, high energy” and Parkinson’s-specific, according to Tim. Soon, they will offer other live online classes, including yoga and other exercises.

“Moving forward, we will be offering the classes at different times so that someone in B.C. doesn’t have to get up too early to attend the 10 a.m. central time class. The point is to offer something free and appropriate to anyone in this community.”

According to studies, exercise is an important way to slow Parkinson’s and control its symptoms. If you’re unsure which exercise is best for you, a kinesiologist can help you develop a personal support training program.

You can learn more about Empower-U or get more information about exercise and Parkinson’s.

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @uturnpd

Leave a Comment