Rowers from Stratford upon Avon Boat Club led by Chris Straw visited Helen Ley Care Centre in Royal Leamington Spa last week as part of a club instigated outreach programme. The aims of the programme are to take rowing into the community to present the beneficial effects of rowing as a means of helping to alleviate the symptoms of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. At the same time, the programme provides an enjoyable means of exercise which is suited to the condition.
Chris who is himself a suffer from Parkinson’s is keenly interested in research studies into the effects that regular repetitive exercise may have in improving a patient’s balance, gait, tremor, flexibility and motor co-ordination.
As part of the visit, people of all levels of ability and condition were able to try rowing on state of the art indoor rowing machines and experience an enjoyable means of exercise tailored to their own level of condition. All the participants really enjoyed the experience and are keen to continue with the programme in the future.
Said Chris, “The clear star of the show was Thomas Harland (pictured) who, despite being quite immobile, was determined to try rowing: we discovered that notwithstanding his condition, he was able to row with an excellent technique as a result of having been an Eton schoolboy rower but having never rowed since school over half a century ago! The look on Thomas’s face as his rowing memories came flooding back was absolutely priceless!”