The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Health & Fitness

April 6, 2013

Model patient: Parkinson’s diagnosis sent Jim Fallenstein to the gym


Fallenstein meets with Radlinger once a week and works out on his own several more times. He’s gone from being able to hold a plank for about 10 seconds to now more than a minute. When Radlinger has him on the assisted pull-up machine — which mimics a traditional pull-up but assists the user — Fallenstein has been able to decrease the amount of assistance by 50 pounds.

He’s making progress, which in this case is measured by a slowing of the progression of Parkinson’s.

“I can control the tremors better,” he said.

Fallenstein said he served in Vietnam in the mid-1960s. He was told by doctors at the Veterans Affairs hospital that his Parkinson’s could have been triggered by the military’s use of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used in the jungles of Vietnam.

Regardless of how it came to his life, Fallenstein is a model patient. He’s taking medication and, as per his doctor’s orders, he’s maximizing his time in the gym.

“He’s done so many great, proactive things to deal with this,” Radlinger said. “He inspires me every day. He had every reason not to do it.”

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