MARQUETTE — A local fitness center is offering a new class to the community for free. ABC 10’s Sarah Mac has more on who the class benefits and why it’s needed.

Today starts the first class of Pedaling for Parkinson’s at the YMCA in Marquette. This is a spin class – also known as a cycling class – for those who suffer from Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

According to materials from the class, Parkinson’s is a disease caused by a breakdown in the nerve cells of the brain. This means that the cells can’t produce enough dopamine – which is the chemical that allows people to move the way they want to. Without that chemical, the body can experience tremors, slow movement and trouble with balance, but studies show that this class may help with those symptoms.

Active Older Adult Leader for the YMCA Ruth Almen says, “It’s a class that’s based on research that came out of Cleveland that said, if folks with Parkinson’s Disease can bike three times a week, for 40 minutes at a certain heart rate – which is very doable – that they can reduce their Parkinson’s symptoms by 35%.”

Individuals who have never had a spin class can modify the workout as needed.

Group Exercise Instructor Cari Detmers says, “It’s an indoor cycling program, set to music, designed to simulate an outdoor bike ride. So basically we’ll work from the start up. We’ll work on pedal stroke, we’ll work on pedal rhythm, we’ll learn how to, you know, function correctly on the bike, and then as they progress then they’ll be able to do pretty much anything a normal spinning class has to offer.”

Participants use a stationary bike, and the goal is to pedal 80 to 90 revolutions per minute to achieve the optimum heart rate.

Almen says that they have a full class already and the ages of the participants range from 60 to 82.

“We know folks that are out there,” Almen added, “they have very active lives they’re looking for things, again, to help improve their quality of life. So we’re just happy to be able to be a part of that.”

The class runs eight weeks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and lasts about an hour. It’s free to start, but after the initial eight weeks a facility membership is required to continue.

For more information click here.