One in three people with Parkinson’s experience freezing. Freezing refers to a sudden, spontaneous, and involuntary block in movement. It usually happens when people are starting to walk but can also happen when initiating other movements like getting out of bed, or even when speaking. Freezing can be a stressful and frightening experience. However, here are some useful tips to help overcome freezing:
1. Colourful Tape
Place a piece of colourful tape on the floor in places around the house or workplace where you freeze most commonly, such as doorways or corners. Aim to step over the tape. This acts as a visual cue to help restart your walking.
2. March or Rock on the Spot
March on the spot a few times before you step forward. Alternatively, try rocking from side-to-side or stepping backward before you try to step forwards.
3. Metronome Therapy
Listening to a metronome can help to restart movement after an episode of freezing. This is an auditory cue or a sound beat. Walking in time to the beat can help prevent freezing or restart movement after freezing. Beats Medical offers a tailored metronome beat to help improve your walking.
4. Wide Turns
Take wide turns when turning a corner or changing direction. Imagine walking in a semi-circle rather than a pivot turn.
5. Hum, Sing, or Count!
Humming or singing a rhythmic melody to yourself, and walking in time to the melody can be helpful. Alternatively counting ‘1-2-3 – GO’ in your head or out loud may help to initiate movement.
6. Ask for Help!
Ask a family member for their assistance if they are with you. They can put their own foot in front of yours to give you a target to step over. Their encouragement may help you move forward.