Thursday, October 21, 2010


Here we go. I'm the tall, skinny blond in blue leggings.

At the Blazing Toward a Cure symposium last Saturday, the most fantastically funny, inspirational, and believable exercise leader talked about something I have always believed: Exercise is the best medicine.   I have always believed that, and I used to run, walk, hike, swim, and workout on equipment in my old house where the formal dining room had become a gym.

Used to.  Used to be I was a 24-hour-on call fire investigator who was in her 40s. Now, on the eve of Medicare, I need some serious reality checks.  My big step was Saturday, Oct. 16th, when I came out of the Parkinson's closet for the last time.

After reviewing my own history of physical therapy for injuries and lately for PD and after examining exercise programs, what I want to do is share what has worked for me, what my research suggests, and what friends with PD find works for them.

Level: Easy warm-up and just plain fun

  • Balloon volley ball:  Pass an inflated balloon back and forth between 2 people or around a room of many people.  Good way to warm up, get your arms moving, and--most important--laugh.  If you have cats, this is even more fun.
  • Tennis ball movement:  I can do a million things with a tennis ball.  I will just hold it while watching TV or talking on the phone. I squeeze it and roll it around my hand in various configurations; then I change hands.  Try making throwing motions--any pitch you want that doesn't hurt your shoulder.  Pitching is more fun if you have a dog and actually throw the ball. I like the tennis ball foot exercises, because my feet always hurt.  I take off my shoes, put the ball on the carpet, and move it around with my bare feet.  I do this just to the point of pain, then plant my feet flat on the floor for a moment.
  • Resistance bands are great for total body strengthening, but I start out warming up by doing easy lateral extensions with them   Good web site for seniors using these bands is:

Be, a wise girl who's part mine
Just getting up and moving around--if possible--is good and loosens us up.  But People With PD are often battling stability problems, so do everything while sitting in a chair if you are like me and fall.  I have really bad PD days where I just fall or trip over nothing but the air.  On these days, even if I am lying on the bed, I at least do these exercises sitting down, and I always rotate my rigid ankles and try some leg raises.

I want to hear from other people about their routines, tips for better movement, and experience.  Tomorrow, I will talk about walking, which I love on "good PD days" and hate on bad ones.  Let's do it together.  Be (pictured above) is the ideal walking partner.    

Remember who won the race between the Tortoise and the Hare.

1 comment:

  1. Keep up the humor; that's all you can do :-)
    Glad to see you are getting into the exercise. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. I tripped and fell today and I don't even have PD!