“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” - Confucius
You have registered for the
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Fighting Parkinson’s Step by Step 5K Walk and Fun Run. You’ve checked with your doctor who has suggested walking is a good idea. Now what?
Some important basics of a walking program:
- Where sturdy walking shoes. Now is not the time to breakout the flip-flops you bought on clearance at the end of last summer.
- Keep your hands free – out of pockets. Practice swinging your arms as you walk. If your rhythm is a little off, talk to your neurologist about getting a Physical Therapy referral to help.
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart and maintain upright posture.
- As you walk, place your heel first. Sometimes with Parkinson’s a person will start stepping “toe, heel” instead of “heel, toe.”
- If you find yourself shuffling, stop and think “BIG steps” before you take your next step.
Start your program simply. If it’s been a really long time and your stamina is low, take a short five minute walk on your first day. Just walk to the end of the driveway and back a couple of times. Walk slowly until you are comfortable picking up the speed a little. Each day, increase your walk time by 2 minutes, with the goal of walking for 15 minutes at the end of the week. Don’t forget to schedule in a rest day.
Feeling a little unstable as you walk? Consider possibly using walking poles; these can help not only with stability, but will also increase the benefit of your walk by adding in some upper-body exercise. (Walking poles were demonstrated by Darolyn O’ Donnell of the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the Victory Summit – Pole Walking and Parkinson’s - and recently by Jayah Faye Paley at REI – www.PolesforMobility.com) Use a properly fitted walker or cane for support; handles should be level with the wrist when you are standing up straight (see an Occupational Therapist for proper sizing and use.)
No matter what tools you use, the important thing is to start your program at your own pace and build slowly until you are ready to take on greater challenges.
Still haven’t registered for the Walk? Start your team now! www.parkinsonswalksd.com
Note: Never begin any exercise program without first checking with your physician. DO NOT participate in this activity if it puts you at risk for a fall.