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Our Mission

To provide people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease with hope  and the opportunity to live their lives with confidence and strength. Our classes  encourage intense exercise through Boxing & Functional Interval Training which  is personalized for each individual. Classes also provide emotional and social  support and give participants a sense of empowerment over their destiny.

Beat PD Today is a program that will improve the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s by performing exercises that are functional to everyday living. Along with Interval Training, boxing is a large part of the program and has shown to improve symptoms in Parkinson's and slow the progression of the disease.  Boxing helps balance, explosiveness, strength, mental strength and more.  Common symptoms such as gait, balance and motor control often improve over time, with research now showing the progression of the disease  slows.  Participants will feel better both emotionally and physically.

What is Beat PD?
Michelle Hespeler, Founder

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BeatPD Today is a non-profit program developed by  Michelle Hespeler. The Beat PD Today program is an affordable exercise class based on national research around the benefit of exercise to alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Every workout is scalable to each individual within the group class. Classes at all levels are available virtually and in person.

The Beat PD Today program focuses on full functional body movements that we use in everyday life. Classes include a mix of Boxing and Functional Interval Training.  Both types of exercise has shown to improve daily symptoms of the disease. Boxing involves balance, explosiveness, focus, strength, speed, agility. FIT circuits work on many skills as well and are adaptable to any fitness level. Our sessions use a variety of basic equipment such as ropes, TRX, kettle bells, punching bags,  BOSUs, weights and medicine balls. We create work-outs each session specific to the groups needs.

Participants are motivated to work hard due to the continuously changing work-outs.  Meditation, breathing techniques and stretching are integral parts of the program.   Trainers challenge each individual to go beyond what they think they can do.  This extra work forces your muscles and therefore, your motor skills, to improve. The classes will encourage brain stimulation, challenge balance and stability and teach proper technique and form – all in an encouraging group setting.

You will leave the class and feeling energized for your day.  Within a few weeks of regular exercise, your energy level throughout the day will improve and you will feel your body moving better while performing everyday tasks.


Michelle Hespeler

Michelle Hespeler is an educator and leader to both adults and children.  Her twenty eight year career as a Physical Education teacher and coach was one that taught hundreds of children the benefits of exercise.  Her passion to help children learn to be confident, respectful and healthy is evident when you see her teach.  She is an athlete and fitness enthusiast herself, which also makes her a great role model for her students.

Michelle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of forty.  Her diagnosis was devasting, but she quickly decided to help the cause by joining clinical trials, start a support group for young people with Parkinson’s and eventually created an exercise program called Beat Parkinson’s Today.  Her program is now sprinkled around CT in twelve locations and has over 300 people with PD in her classes. Michelle is the Co-Founder of Connecticut Advocates for Parkinson’s and the Executive Director of Beat PD Today, two non-profits working together to help PWPs live the best life that can today, as well as, support research to find the cure. Michelle is a strong leader in the Parkinson’s community.  She says her strength to keep on fighting comes from her husband, Karl, her two children Krista and Kyle, and her mother who everyone knows as “Grandma Gale.” Michelle’s mantra sums up the way in which she lives each day -  Think Strong, Move Strong and Be Strong, Beat PD Today.