Walking, especially outdoors, is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. Walking helps you maintain your mobility and independence and it keeps you fit and feeling good.
- Check your footwear first – low heels and good arch support are recommended
- Gentle stretches of calf and hamstrings help to prepare your legs for the walk
- The walking route should be safe and easy to complete, e.g. on flat footpath or sports oval. Avoid busy road crossings, rough ground, obstacles and crowds
- Concentrate on long strides
- Swing your arms
- Stand tall and look ahead
- Avoid doing other things, e.g. talking or carrying something while you are walking.
- When you turn, make a wide arc of movement and keep using long steps
- Pay extra attention when you are walking over uneven surfaces as your balance may be affected.
If you experience freezing episodes or if you walk with short shuffling steps, the following strategies can help:
- Think about each movement before you do it
- Trigger walking by stepping over a strip of white adhesive tape on the floor or imagine stepping over a log
- Say out loud ‘long steps’, ‘one two one two’ or listen to the regular beat of a metronome to trigger the step
- Place cue cards around the house with instructions, e.g. ‘go’ ‘start’ or ‘step’ written on them
- Rock gently from side to side to get started.
Sitting and Standing
- To sit down, approach close to the chair:
- turn your body so that the backs of your knees touch the chair behind you
- lean forward, bend your knees
- reach back for the arm support
- lower your body slowly into the chair
- ensure your chairs and bed are the correct height.
To get out of a chair
- wriggle your bottom forward
- place your feet back
- lean forward – nose over toes
- stand up.
It may be helpful to sit down on a stable chair to dress. Buttons, belts and laces can be troublesome so look for alternatives.
Clothes should have ample openings for arms, legs and head. You should try to work out the best way to get dressed by yourself because this will help to maintain independence. If you require assistance and it is available then ask.
You may find it difficult to wash in the usual position of standing up and leaning forward. It may help you to sit on a chair in front of the washbasin. You could use an electric razor to avoid the risk of cutting yourself.
When you take a bath, be sure there is a non-slip rubber mat in the tub. This helps prevent slipping. Some people find it easier and more comfortable to sit on a special bath seat. If using a shower, then a shower chair and a shower hose may be helpful. Rails may be installed for extra safety. An Occupational Therapist can advise you on rails and equipment.