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.

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


Click here for my Personal Story

Michelle Hespeler is an educator and leader to both adults and children.  Her twentyeight 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.


Academic Background

                  University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

                  Bachelor of Science in Education, Major in Physical Education/Health, December 1989.

                  Master of Arts in Education, Major in Sport Management, May 1998.

Fitness/Health Industry

                   Certified in Adult, Child and Infant CPR, First Aid and AED

                    Aerobic Fitness Instructor at a local fitness center for five years

                    Instructor for children’s fitness programs       

                    Certified Instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America

Educational Experience -1980-present

                    Physical Education/Health Teacher for Grades K-5 at Buttonball Lane School

                    Physical Education/Health Teacher for Grades 7 & 8 at Smith Middle School

                    Physical Education/Health Teacher for 700 students in grades K-5 at Hopewell               

Coaching Experience

                    Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, CT

                     Illing Jr. High School, Manchester, CT

                     Tolland High School, Tolland, CT

                     Manchester High School

                     East Catholic High School, Manchester, CT                

                     Marlborough Youth Athletic League, Marlborough, CT

Terry O'Hara-Lead Trainer


Certified Personal Trainer, NASM, for over 12 years

Certified Nutrition Coach, Precision Nutrition

Outward Bound Instructor, Sailing Program, Hurricane Island, Maine

BS Food Science and Nutrition, URI


Terry brings a lifetime of experiences and training to her BEAT PD classes. The opportunity to meet and live through life’s challenges with an optimistic attitude has always been what makes Terry shine. She has created challenges for her life….riding a bicycle across country, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, working for Outward Bound, running multiple marathons and cross country and track competitions.  The concept of digging deep and becoming stronger and better has always been exciting for her, both as an individual and as a coach. Terry is married with 2 children (high school and college) and lives in Guilford, CT.


Beat Parkinson's Today                                                 860.918.9594