Since 1994, improving the lives of those living with Neurological and Orthopedic Disorders through unique exercise, health and fitness programs.
Specialized Exercise Programs:
Inclusion Body Myositis
Total Knee Replacement
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Cervical or Low Back Injuries
May 3, 2016
My name is Alan Jackowitz. I am an author, former CPA and long-time client of the Parkinson's Fitness Center. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2008, one day before my 50th birthday. I was having difficulty with my balance and dragging my feet when walking, nearly falling several times. My doctor had me go through a few weeks of out-patient physical therapy. It helped me a bit but when I was discharged I was concerned about being able to maintain what I had improved with PT. I wanted to make sure I kept my symptoms at bay and knew I had to exercise but did not know what to do or where to start. I didn't want to exercise at just any place. Being recently diagnosed, I was very self-conscious. I asked my doctor if there was a place I could go where they had specific programs for people like me.
My doctor didn't hesitate. "Actually, I've got good news for you. There is a place like that and it's pretty close to where you live. It's called the Parkinson's Fitness Center. Give them a call and set up a consultation. The owner, Kreig Marks, is a physical therapist and personal trainer. This is the only place in South Florida that specializes in exercise programs specific for people with PD and other types of movement disorders. I've known Kreig for many years and he is the only person I would recommend. His exercise programs are very different from anything you've ever seen or tried. He's been interviewed on TV and in newspapers all over the country. He and his staff have over 100,000 combined clinical hours and 35 years experience working with people of all ages and stages of PD and other movement disorders."
After listening to my doctor, I was convinced. So, after I left his office, I called Kreig. That was in November of 2008. In that brief telephone call, I felt like I had known Kreig forever. I went in for a consultation a few days later and I've been exercising with him 2 to 3 days a week ever since. He's become one of my dearest friends. Without Kreig and the PFC, I know that my symptoms would have progressed quickly and I'd be in very bad shape.
Eight years later, I'm still independent, still drive, still do everything I've always done. Some things I've had to modify a bit but otherwise, I'm doing very well.
If you've been diagnosed with PD or some other movement disorder, either recently or several years ago, I highly recommend you give Kreig a call TODAY and get yourself into the PFC now. He's going to push you and motivate you. I promise you, you will see improvements in a short time and feel so much better. Otherwise, you are going to decline rapidly and progress quickly with your symptoms. Remember, you're not alone in this. All these diseases effect your family too, especially if you lose your independence. Do this for yourself and for them. I not only speak for myself but for the countless others who attend the PFC every day. If you want to speak to me about my personal experiences and success with Kreig and the PFC, I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
May 10, 2016
My name is Melanie Darvidoff. In February of 2014, I thought my world was coming to an end. I was almost 51 years old, a wife, mother and successful New York attorney. I had a busy practice and a busy and fulfilled life. I traveled a lot across country for business meetings and was fortunate to be able to travel for pleasure. And one day, I started noticing that when I walked, I would drag my left foot and I was starting to have some shaking with my left hand. I scheduled an appointment with my primary care physician and he referred me to a neurologist affiliated with NYU. Within a few minutes, the neurologist diagnosed me with Young Onset Parkinson’s. I didn’t understand how this could be happening. I was only 52 years old and anything I’d ever heard about Parkinson’s seem to be with the older population.
I went into a deep depression, stopped socializing, stopped scheduling a lot of clients and my symptoms became worse. I never exercised. My husband and I then decided to move to South Florida.
A few months ago, I saw a story on the news about a local boxing program for people who had Parkinson’s so I decided to give it a try. I only attended one session. The instructors were nice but honestly, they lacked the knowledge and experience I felt I needed to help combat my disease. They didn’t know anything about medication or much about Parkinson’s or movement disorders. I asked how long they had been doing this and they said about a year. Before that they only offered boxing classes to people who were healthy and saw an opportunity to get “weekend certified” as a “Rock Steady Boxing” facility to increase their profits, so they attended a weekend class and got ” Rock Steady” Certified. I researched and discovered that this is only an in-house certification and basically a useless piece of paper. I wish I had known that prior. My depression seemed to get worse and I was about to give up.
Two weeks ago, a new client came into my office seeking legal advice. During our brief introduction, she mentioned she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s 7 years ago. I could barely tell she had the disease. I told her of my diagnosis only 3 years ago. My symptoms were already more noticeable than hers. She asked if I exercised. I told her of my recent experience. She referred to Kreig Marks and the Parkinson’s Fitness Center. I had no idea what it was about or what to expect, but, I picked up the phone and called Kreig. During our phone conversation, he was very sensitive to my feelings and fears and very knowledgeable of the disease and its progression. I was impressed with his expansive resume and references. I scheduled a consultation with him.
A couple days later, I saw my neurologist in Boca and asked him about exercise. He said it would be great for me to begin and said he had the perfect person for me. He wrote down a name and telephone number on a piece of paper and handed it to me. He said, "call Kreig Marks, he is the best at the type of exercise you need." I began to laugh and told him about my client who referred me to him. His response, "that's a smart client." Contacting my neurologist at NYU to get copies of my medical records, he too knows of Kreig very well and refers a lot of snowbirds to him. Who was this guy I was going to be entrusting to my Parkinson's fitness?
A couple days later I had a consultation with Kreig. He's very intelligent, kind and very humble. He's not comfortable talking about his accomplishments. Two days later I had my first session with him at my home. It was not easy but Kreig modified exercises to my ability level. I won’t lie, I am very out of shape. I’m going to be a challenge for him. The next day, I was very sore. But strangely, I felt much better than I have in a long time. I had my next session a few days later. During my 3rd session, we exercised outdoors. I met two guys there who also had Parkinson’s, Dale and Chris. They are nuts! They’ve been training with Kreig for over 2 years now and both do mountain bike racing. (Kreig got them started on that too.) On my next session, we met outdoors again and Kreig had me bring my son’s mountain bike. Dale, Chris and I did a 30-minute mountain bike circuit around a trail at a local park (well, they did, mine was more like 15 minutes). It was unbelievably difficult. But, I did it. Chris and Dale were wonderful.
I am now hooked! This is the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. I’m not a masochist but I can’t wait for my next session(s). It’s given me a whole new outlook on my life with Parkinson’s. I cannot thank my client enough for referring me to Kreig.
If you have Parkinson’s and don’t exercise, get started now! Better yet, call Kreig Marks and have him guide you. He travels to you. He does not accept insurance but his fees are very fair and worth every cent.
June 3, 2021
I've been training with Kreig now for over 5 years and I feel great. I do have days when I have more symptoms but for the most part, they're under control. I still train with Kreig 3 days a week at my home and 2 years ago, I ran my first 5k. Yes, he helped train me for that too. I now do about 10 a year and I'm hooked. Physically, I feel I look better than I ever did. My husband agrees. I have great muscle tone and a lot more strength than I did when I was younger. Kreig has been such a gift and I am so thankful I found him. I've also returned the favor and have referred him to several other people who have Parkinson's. He trains all of them independently and specifically for their abilities.
-Since 1994, Kreig Marks has over 27 years experience and has accumulated over 100,000 documented clinical hours working with people living with Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other Movement Disorders.
They are boxing, they are doing an indoor interval circuit training program, or stair training...or sweating outside on a mountain bike training course. They have Parkinson's, Multiple Sclerosis, Ataxia and other movement disorders and they are going way beyond their limitations because...A Kreig Marks, the founder of the Parkinson's Fitness Center (PFC), doesn't give up on them. They all train with Kreig because of this. What I notice today, as he is training two clients who have Parkinson's and another with Multiple Sclerosis and Ataxia is...it takes energy to train people who are afraid to fall or are afraid of freezing up. I also notice his clients drawing their strength from Kreig's resolve to get them where they need to be.
"Honestly, I don't want them sitting around, and I don't want them to not exercise when they are not at the PFC either...I encourage them to move, to practice the goals I give them, and to enjoy a better quality of life...they are living with Parkinson's, with M.S., with Ataxia, Essential Tremors, you name it... and it is a holistic necessity to balance proper supplements, diet, the right medication and always fitness."
The statistics prove that Kreig's ideas over twenty years ago are now the standard when you speak to neurologists about this: levels of dopamine in the brain can be improved much more with regular fitness and can actually slow down the progression of Parkinson's. Additionally, regular exercise helps to lessen the symptoms of M.S. Kreig relates, "Three to five years from now I believe that the clinical trials for vaccines to reduce Parkinson's and M.S. symptoms, maybe even cure them altogether (through stem cell research)...all of this is encouraging and so I do talk about it around the center...until then, my work is to help my clients improve their strength, balance, endurance and agility."
On this day I see Tysan, age 38, come in. Diagnosed three years ago, he has been training for about two years with Kreig. To look at him, you'd have no idea that he has Parkinson's. He begins his workout and is jumping rope for a long while. Next he is doing push ups, rotational burpees, squat jumps, crossovers; he is on fire. He pulls out his notebook and I ask him about it. "I take notes each session about my exercises, on nutrition, what to improve, Kreig knows all about the different medications and how they affect all of us. He can read us like a book as we walk in the door, knowing if we just took our meds or if it's time for a visit with our doctors for a change of meds. He will pick up the phone and call our doctors right there and discuss what's going on with us and make suggestions to our doctors. And, our doctor listens and doesn't question Kreig. That's how much respect he has in the medical and Parkinson's community. I pick Kreig's brain because in my opinion, he is the best in the country at what he does, has been doing this longer than anyone else and has gotten me this far." Tysan explains further, "Kreig changes what we do every single time...I don't want to miss anything or forget what to do when I leave here." Tysan has the right attitude and I am tremendously impressed and am wondering why we don't have more places like this across the country...it is invaluable and life changing. Kreig is on to something special.
Terry Simons, Writer/Triathlete
Washington Health Journal 2015
When It All Began
In 1994, Kreig Marks', the founder of the Parkinson's Fitness Center of South Florida PFC), father was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. A year later in 1995, his Aunt was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. At that time, Kreig's thriving physical therapy practice focused on orthopedics and sports medicine. All that nearly changed overnight. Kreig began to study PD and MS and over the years became a Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis Exercise Specialist and developed unique methods and techniques to help combat and manage the symptoms of both diseases and became very popular on the speaking circuits.
Nearly 25 years later, Kreig has worked with over 5000 people living with Parkinson's Disease and over 2400 people living with Multiple Sclerosis. He has well over 100,000 documented clinical hours and the symptom stabilization and improvement rate with his clients who are consistent and follow through with proper nutrition and home exercises is hovering near 80%.
Kreig and his program are in high demand. He is affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic of Weston, Florida, along with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Kreig has been interviewed by local news media in South Florida along with CNN, CCTV, the New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and many other media outlets. In 2014, the National Parkinson Foundation began offering a limited number of grants to local businesses offering unique therapeutic support to people living with PD. Kreig's program received one of the first Grants. However, Kreig now refuses any grant funding so other practitioners can benefit.
Kreig Marks has been interviewed and featured in national media:
The Miami Herald
Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel
New York Times
New York Post
Akron Beacon Journal
Chattanooga Free Press
The Gulf Times
Capital Area Parkinsons
Michael J Fox.Org
Private Training sessions are 50 minutes in duration and are designed specifically to meet the goals of the individual. After your initial consultation and complete assessment, an exercise program will be developed specifically for you, based on your goals. Our team of experts will help to streamline your goals, make them realistic, and achievable.
The founder of the PFC – Kreig Marks, is an internationally known name in Parkinson's and Movement Disorder fitness training. His lengthy background in Movement Disorders, along with Physical Therapy, Kinesiology, Sports Medicine, Exercise Physiology, as well as his dynamic approach to creating innovative challenges, is a big reason why.
Because every client responds differently to exercise programs, our Private Training program at the PFC is designed with each individual client’s health and personal goals in mind. Our team of experts utilize the latest research in Parkinson's, MS and other Movement Disorders along with the fields of Exercise Science, Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Sports Science, Sport Psychology, and injury prevention and rehabilitation.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Kreig Marks began his HIIT Program for people living with PD in 1995. He firmly believed that exercise performed at a high level of intensity rather than slow, controlled exercises, (within each client's limitations), was necessary to improve the functional levels of these people. His case studies confirmed this theory. Kreig also believed that these types of exercises would help control the symptoms and slow the progression of PD. In 2015, several research studies have confirmed Marks' long held beliefs.
Interval Training (indoor and/or outdoor circuit training,) is a system of exercises (private or semi-private or in a group,) designed to achieve your desired goals in the shortest possible time. It combines two resistance and cardio, all in a shorter period of time (30 to 40 minutes in duration,) with minimal rest in between sets.
For all of our Parkinson's Exercise Programs, we emphasize cognitive involvement along with multiple joint and muscular movements. We place emphasis on the duration of the exercise repetitions and sets over the resistance.
Resistance is created through the use of weights or bands or simply your own body weight. The sessions are designed as short bursts of activity, followed by even shorter periods of rest to enable recovery. This extremely effective way to maintain your metabolic rate greatly benefits people who have Parkinson's by helping the brain stimulate dopamine production.
Non-Contact Boxing (Where it all began)
Our Non-Contact Boxing program, (the first of it's kind in the country), which Kreig was the first to develop back in 1994, is a very dynamic exercise that utilizes your entire body and continuously challenges and strengthens your balance, endurance and coordination.
Utilizing non-contact boxing drills including heavy bags and speed bags, after a 30 minute session, you will be ready to take on the world!
Are you ready to "step up" your training?
Our Stair Training Program, safe and effective, was designed to improve your strength, balance, coordination, muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
You will learn how to conquer curbs, ramps and steps in a safe and energy conserving manner.
Taking it one step at a time, this is a program that reaps results in a very short period of time. At the PFC, this is a very important part of our program we encourage our members to participate in.
Mountain Bike Training
-Reminder: All exercise programs at the PFC are designed specifically for people with Movement Disorders. Age, stage and ability levels are taken into consideration before beginning any of our programs.
Want more of a challenge or a change of pace set in nature? Then it's time to progress to our Mountain Bike Training Program. This program enhances balance, coordination and cardiovascular endurance. Featuring multi-levels from beginner to advanced and different terrain from flat surfaces to low hills. A fun, safe program - rapidly gaining popularity in the exercise community.
What is the Parkinson's Fitness Center (PFC)?
PFC is a one-of-a-kind, South Florida-based facility, (concept developed in 1994) but founded in 2013 to provide a uniquely effective form of physical exercise for people living with Movement Disorders. This includes support for family members and care-takers, as well. Our unique fitness programs, designed by Kreig Marks, CPT/ATC in 1995, have proven to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s, MS and other Movement Disorders. Additionally, these people begin to enjoy a more independent type of life, as well. PFC programs and the information on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any Disease. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, on this website is for general informational purposes only. You are encouraged to discuss any information found on this website with your physician.
How was the PFC started? The idea of a Parkinson's Fitness Center began way back in 1994. Kreig Marks, (the Founder of PFC), a physical therapist and personal trainer, designed specific exercise techniques including boxing and metabolic interval training years ago to help his father deal with his Parkinson’s symptoms and physical limitations. Since then, Kreig has worked with over 6500 people who have Parkinson’s Disease, M.S., Ataxia, and Dystonia and his program has been proven to have a high symptom stabilization/ containment rate of nearly 78%. Since years ago, Kreig has earned the respect of many neurologists around the country and globe for how he trains. (Now accepting private donations, the long-term goal of the PFC is to establish a larger, independent center.)
Will the PFC offer any other support services in addition to exercise?
Besides fitness training and social events, the PFC will have a weekly schedule/ calendar of support group meetings and lectures. Additionally, the PFC will help organize community fundraisers.
What types of exercise and fitness classes does PFC offer?
The PFC Exercise and Fitness Programs will include group interval training, private and semi-private exercise sessions, non-contact boxing, stair circuit training and mountain bike circuits. For our boxing program, there is no contact involved and no boxing experience is necessary. People of all ages are invited to participate.
When did rigorous exercise start becoming the norm in Parkinson’s treatment?
In the early 1990’s several clinical studies began to support Kreig Marks’ long standing belief that rigorous exercise for people who have Parkinson's had a positive effect on their range of motion, flexibility, posture, gait and daily activity level. More recent studies, most notably at the Cleveland Clinic, focus on the concept of intense “forced” exercise, and suggest that certain types of exercise are neuro-protective. This means that continual rigorous exercise may actually slow down the progression of Parkinson's. All of the exercise programs at the PFC are designed specifically to enhance strength, balance, endurance, flexibility, burst, power, speed, coordination and agility.
Do any medical studies provide evidence showing exercise can help alleviate Parkinson’s symptoms?
Yes. According to a recent Cleveland Clinic study, aerobic fitness can be improved in Parkinson’s patients following forced and/or voluntary exercise. Studies are showing that exercise induces brain repair and accompanying behavioral recovery.
Cited Medical Studies:
A. “…Exercise or other motor enrichment methods might delay the onset of Parkinsonian symptoms or slow the degenerative process, but only when there are no substantial breaks in motor activity” (1763). – Motor Enrichment and the Induction of Plasticity Before or After Brain Injury (Kleim et al, 2004)B. “Our findings indicate that exercise reduces the behavioral impairments elicited by the dopaminergic neurotoxins as well as the loss of DA neurons” – Triggering endogenous neuroprotective processes through exercise in models of dopamine deficiency (Zigmond et al, 2009). “It is clear that exercise can influence the multiple levels of support necessary for maintaining optimal neuronal function, which is unique among proposed interventions for aging.” (Anderson et al, 2010)“…It is so encouraging to learn based on the observations of this study that exercise training can effectively reverse certain behavioral deficits, like impaired movement, imbalance and inconsistent gait pattern that are associated with the Parkinsonian syndrome in spite of the existing severe loss.” –Restorative effect of endurance exercise on behavioral deficits in the chronic mouse model of Parkinson’s disease with severe neurodegeneration (Pathakos, Kurz & Lau, 2009) Some studies suggest that continuous, intensive training may offer neuro-protection, and subsequently slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s or promote neuro-restoration.
What are the qualifications of the PFC Staff and Trainers? All trainers at the PFC are either Certified Personal Trainers or Licensed Physical Therapists. They are also certified in first aid, CPR and the use of an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED).
How many classes should I attend once I get started?
To receive the maximum benefit we suggest you attend at least 3 - 4 training sessions a week, but there are no minimal requirements. It is very important to follow through with exercise at home; something our trainers will suggest and map out for you.
Can anyone with Movement Disorders participate, no matter their age or level of progression?
A full consultation, including medical history, will be conducted prior to beginning with the PFC. This intake will help us determine the fitness goals and assess what you will best benefit from, in terms of exercises. Nearly everyone with Movement Disorders can participate and receive benefit from the PFC programs.
Do I need a physician’s prescription or release to attend PFC?
For any of our personal or group training programs, a prescription is not required. We do not require every participant to have a physician’s release, however, we strongly recommend that every PFC member discuss their participation in our program with their physicians as part of their overall wellness plan. If you have a history of cardiac problems, we will require a letter from your physician clearing you to participate prior to your first session.