Falling is a big concern for many with Parkinson’s. Also, fear of falling is a big concern for many with Parkinson’s. Fear can be paralyzing, causing freezing, and eventually falling, if one is consumed by fear. Today, I will discuss some dynamics of walking to help you to not be afraid and to help you avoid falling.
There are two basics that are the most important things to know about walking while having Parkinson’s:
1. ONLY walk forward.
2. Initiate movement forward with your feet, not your upper body.
There are two basics that are the most important DO NOT DO things to know about walking while having Parkinson’s:
1. DO NOT step to the side.
2. DO NOT step backwards.
Here are the steps (no pun intended) to follow to avoid falling when walking while having Parkinson’s:
1. Prior to getting up from the chair, make certain your feet are flat on the ground, shoulder width apart, and pointing straight forward.
2. Stand up.
3. Take two deeps inhales and exhales.
4. Assess your situation:
a. Do you feel dizzy or out of balance? If so, sit back down and practice breathing until it passes.
b. Are your feet pointing forward?
c. Is the direction where your feet are pointing the direction in which you wish to walk?
1. If yes, go to number 5.
2. If no, take small, “baby” steps in place until you are pointing in the direction you wish to walk.
5. Lift your foot to take a step forward. Do not initiate your movement by leaning your upper body forward. If you try to initiate movement with your upper body by leaning forward and your feet stick to the floor, then you enhance your possibility of falling. If you go to take a step and your feet are stuck to the floor, sit back down, take a few deep breaths, and practice lifting your feet off of the floor while sitting. Then, start at number 1 above and repeat the process.
These are the rules I followed for walking. I did not freeze, my feet did stick to the floor, I never fell, and sometimes, the best I could do was to shuffle. However, even though I was walking or shuffling slowly, I always got from Point A to Point B with no interruption.
I practiced this type of walking and shuffling up and down the hallway in my home so I could build confidence. This kind of confidence helped me get rid of any fear of freezing or falling while walking with Parkinson’s, and it helped me not be so subconscious about my walking in public.
Although the steps listed above might seem like a lot of effort to go through to make certain you do not fall, please know that you are absolutely worth it. You are worth whatever extra effort and practice it takes to avoid falling.
Doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® helps bring your life back into balance physically, mentally, and spiritually. Doing the Recipe and practicing walking helps you bring your life back into balance, bring your walking back into balance, and helps you avoid falling!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,