Parkinson’s Disease Fitness Specialist Online Course


This product is an online, self-study course.

Every nine seconds a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. By this time, the patient has been experiencing symptoms for years. Over the past decade, numerous exercise methods have surfaced all claiming to “slow the progression of the disease.” Research studies reveal more and more information about the epidemiology of the disease while fitness professionals are offering more personal training and/or coaching of group exercise classes specifically for those living with Parkinson’s disease. The goal of this course is to bring the research, medical and fitness fields together so that fitness professionals gain a comprehensive understanding of Parkinson’s disease, and learn how to work with those who have it.

Course Length: 12.5 hours

Course Author: Colleen Bridges-Nash, M.Ed.

MedFit Network (MFN) Membership
This course includes a free trial of a professional MFN membership. This offer is valid for new members only, and instructions for creating your MFN account will be sent after course purchase. Already a member? Existing MFN members are not eligible to receive a free trial, but do receive a discounted price on MedFit Classroom courses. Check your MFN account for details or contact


Many fitness professionals lack the knowledge to safely and effectively design fitness programs that specifically meet the needs of those with Parkinson’s Disease. As the yearly number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s increases, so does the demand for fitness professionals who have the skills and education to deliver quality and individualized fitness programming for this population.

Course Objectives

  • Gain an understanding of the epidemiology and the effects of Parkinson’s disease on the body.
  • Gain an understanding of the treatment options and the side effects.
  • Gain an understanding the connection between exercise and Parkinson’s disease (includes a boxing tutorial).
  • Learn the What, Why and How to Writing an effective program design for clients with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Learn safe and effective programming through progression and regression of exercises, when necessary.

Course Overview

Click here to download a detailed lesson overview (PDF)

  • Module 1: What is Parkinson’s Disease?
  • Module 2: Therapies Today and in the Future
  • Module 3: Benefits of Exercise
  • Module 4: Boxing and Parkinson’s Disease
  • Module 5: Effective Exercise Program Design, Part 1
  • Module 6: Effective Exercise Program Design, Part 2

Course Delivery and Assessment

This is an online course. All materials are delivered virtually, with videos and narrated slide presentations. Comprehension of the material will be measured via a mandatory, multiple-choice/true-false item, competency assessment requiring an 80% passing grade.


The completion of this specialization course, and the passing of its corresponding competency assessment, leads to a Certificate of Specialization. All of the online courses on MedFit Classroom which lead to a Certificate of Specialization are considered advanced level education, and are meant to be taken by fitness professionals who have previously acquired education and experience as a professional within the health and fitness industry. In order to receive the Certificate of Specialization, upon completion of this course you will be asked to provide proof of the following:

  1. Evidence of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fitness or health related field AND/OR possess a certification from a nationally-recognized certification, NCCA or ANSI/ISO accredited program AND
  2. Evidence of professional liability insurance.

*If you do not meet the requirements for a Certificate of Specialization, you can request a Certificate of Completion.

Renewal of Specialization

This Certificate of Specialization will be considered valid for a period of two years. To keep the certificate current, you must complete 10 hours of continuing education, on relevant subject matter, and formally renew the certificate prior to the date of its expiration. As with many certifications and specializations in our field, professionals should anticipate some costs to continuing education and renewal of this certificate.

MedFit Classroom CEUs

The Parkinson’s Disease Fitness Specialist course provides 10 CEUs toward renewal of MedFit Classroom fitness specializations.

Other Continuing Education Credits

This course is approved for credit by:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE) to provide 1.2 CEUs.
  • Canfitpro to provide 4 CECs.
  • International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) to provide 12 CEUs.
  • National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) to provide 1.2 CEUs.

If your certifying body is not listed, you will be provided with a Certificate of Specialization at the end of the course that can be used to petition your certifying body for credit.

About the Author

Colleen Bridges has worked for nearly 2 decades as an NSCA Certified personal trainer, group exercise instructor and fitness consultant and as an independent contractor for Nashville’s first personal training center, STEPS Fitness. Her passion for understanding the body in sickness and in health, and how it moves, as fed her interest in and enhanced her talent for working with senior adults, especially those living with a neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s Disease.

Colleen earned a BA from Ouachita Baptist University and an M. Ed from Louisiana Tech University and went on to earn certifications such as NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, “Rock Steady Boxing Certification”, “Brain and Balance Certification”, “Parkinson’s Cycling Certification”, she has attended multiple conferences offered by NSCA, IDEA and completed an internship with Dr. Irv Rubenstein in 2005.

Colleen’s love for special populations took a unique turn in 2016, when she began teaching “Rock Steady Boxing Music City” classes for those living with Parkinson’s disease. Almost 4 years later, Colleen has two locations, 14 classes per week, 10 assistant coaches and over 120 boxers fighting against Parkinson’s Disease. Vanderbilt University Movement Disorder Clinic took notice of the improvements of their patients attending boxing classes and invited Colleen to participate in a research project studying how exercise intervention affects Parkinson’s Disease.

Visit her website,