Parkinson’s Disease Fitness Specialist Online Course


“I just completed the Parkinson’s Fitness Specialist online course, and have to tell you how much I loved it. I am an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist in Eugene, OR. I know the work you put in to develop this course, and it was astounding. Thank you so much. It was informative and comprehensive.” -Former Student

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 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

  • 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.

System Note: The Google Chrome browser can automatically play all videos in a lesson at the same time, which may be an extremely annoying feature for some, and for which, at the present, there is no easy fix in the Google Chrome settings. If this occurs, try viewing this course using a browser other than Chrome (e.g., Firefox).

Prerequisites and Certificate Information

All of the online courses here 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 for one to receive the Certificate of Specialization that is conferred upon those who purchase and complete this Fitness Specialist course, one must be able to show proof that he or she has 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.

Maintaining this Specialization

The completion of this specialization course, and the passing of its corresponding competency assessment, leads to a Certificate of Specialization. This Certificate of Specialization to work with clients who have Parkinson’s disease 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 the certificate.

MedFit Classroom CEUs

This Specialist Course provides up to 10 CEUs for other MedFit Classroom Specializations. Download our CEU chart (PDF) to find out what specializations it will provide credit CEUs for.

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 17 years 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 Rock Steady Boxing classes and invited Colleen to participate in a research project studying how exercise intervention affects Parkinson’s Disease. The international headquarters for Rock Steady Boxing invited Colleen to present her seminar “Effective Program Design Part 1 and 2” at the 2018 and 2019 conferences. In February of 2019, Colleen was invited to lead a certification training camp for 37 incoming Rock Steady Boxing Coaches.

With a desire to encourage, educate and empower coaches/personal trainers, Colleen created her website which provides essential training for Rock Steady Boxing coaches and personal trainers as it pertains to working with those living with Parkinson’s Disease. Colleen has leveraged her formal education, her personal training expertise and her passion for helping clients to create proprietary formulae for Rock Steady Boxing coaches/personal trainers to follow as they endeavor to help those fighting Parkinson’s Disease.