Are there strategies for me to employ during the day that can help with my Parkinson’s? Thanks in advance for all you do for us.
PATRICK: Hi Dawn, what an insightful question. I have spent time developing strategies for my clients to practice during the day that can make things better. As I like to say, I’ve seen small changes make big differences. Here is a relevant article I wrote on things you can do at the grocery store.
Four things you can do while waiting in line at the grocery store to improve your Parkinson’s symptoms
Practice balancing on one leg
As you stand in the cue, slightly bend the stance leg at the knee and the hip and raise the opposite leg. See how many seconds you can last for three attempts, then switch to the opposite leg. Use the shopping cart for stabilization.
Lift your toes up as high as you can and balance on your heels
Parkinson’s can make it difficult to lift the toes when walking so exercises such as this are great at getting the muscles on the front of the shin to fire. Imagine trying to touch your knee with your toes and you’ll have it!
Practice good posture
First, make sure you understand the body’s positioning of proper posture. If you’re uncertain, watch my short video “Patrick’s Posture Lesson”:
As you wait in line, stand in a strong and proper posture for 5 seconds, then let your posture go. Slump forward, rolling the shoulders forward and bend the head forward and down, ever so slightly. Count to 4 as you perform this slow slump forward, on “4”, snap yourself back to perfect and strong posture, clench all of your muscles, and hold for 5 full seconds. By clenching your muscles you will quickly create muscle memory for good posture. Repeat until it’s time to pay the cashier. Don’t forget to pay.
Practice your fine motor skill
When you get up to the impulse purchase rack near the register with all of the wonderful candy and educational tabloids, reach out with your right hand and grab a pack of chewing gum. Transfer it to your left hand and replace it. Then reach out with your left hand and grab a different pack of gum, switch it to your right hand and replace it. Continue this until you feel that the people around are beginning to think that you are a very indecisive person.
In closing, you can find small challenges to practice throughout the day to improve your function. You don’t always need spend hours at the gym to make a difference, so get creative and find small rituals that are challenging but fun. If you’re looking for ideas, browse my library of free videos on my website on Parkinsons and exercise, or purchased one of my comprehensive DVD programs.