Six months later, that all changed when the same doctor gave him the news that he had Parkinson’s disease, a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination.
“I started feeling different,” Haugen said. “I knew something was wrong. The rate I was going, I saw the forecast, and I knew I would be in trouble very soon.”
Since then, the Forest City man embraced exercise as a means to battle the disease. But when Marmaras came into his life two years ago, she helped him take that to a whole new level.
The two work on a rigorous resistance-based routine for more than an hour twice a week, and Haugen says it has done wonders.
“It’s very rewarding,” Haugen said. “She really knows how to put us through a variety of maneuvers. She’s really great.”
Haugen is an avid golfer who hits the links three to five times a week now, and says working with Marmaras has given him new life on the golf course.
“I’ve taken seven to eight strokes off of my game since I’ve started working with Betsy,” Haugen said. “Golf needs exercise and you need to be stable. Betsy’s program has strengthening and balance elements that I need.”
Who pushes who?
While Haugen gives Marmaras props for getting him where he is today, the admiration goes both ways.