A few months ago, during one of my daily walks I had a fortuitous encounter with a fellow walker. He was walking in the same direction as me, and I could see from a distance that he was twirling a staff (similar to a bostaff), which I initially thought rather peculiar. As I got closer, I could also see that he was shuffle walking and his left hand was trembling, which told me he had Parkinson’s.
When he saw me, he immediately came over and joined me. As we walked down the street together, he explained that he had Parkinson’s and that the neurologist he sees encouraged him to start walking with the staff because it would alleviate his symptoms. He couldn’t explain why, but said that it did indeed help!
Realizing that the universe had arranged this meeting, I knew immediately I had to give it a try. I thought about what I could use (so as to not get bored using the same thing all the time) and in addition to the bostaff (which I had at home) came up with weights (which I also had at home), walking poles and a basketball. So I went out and bought a basketball, a fine Wilson NCAA (which could come in handy if I find myself shipwrecked alone on a deserted island) and took it with me the next day.
Wouldn’t you know it, my friendly stranger and his neurologist were right. The symptoms I normally experience when I am walking were gone. You see, when I walk, I experience three unpleasant symptoms: shuffle walking, clenching (Dystonia) in my left hand and Dystonia in my left leg and foot. None of these were evident when I walked with the basketball.
And so I’ve been ‘exercise’ walking ever since. On days when I don’t take something with me, the symptoms are quite evident, so I rarely go out empty-handed.
If you enjoy walking like I do, give it a try. A side benefit is you get to see how clever people are … “Hey, where’s the game?”
Now, if I could just figure out how to ‘exercise-cycle,’ so I could take up bike riding again!
Have an awesomely active day!