Improve your walking with these Parkinson’s tips

The quality of your walking can depend on a number of factors. Many people with Parkinson’s can experience issues with mobility. This can be anything from the length of your stride shortening, to one or both of your arms not swinging fully as you walk. Research has shown that staying active is important for everyone, and exercise is a vital tool in combating Parkinson’s symptoms. If you are having issues with walking, try some of the following activities:

1. Stay Active

Staying physically active is so important for maintaining the quality of your walking. Simply getting out walking as often as you can, can help to maintain your functional mobility. Try to build a routine that works, some people prefer a longer walk, while others prefer more frequent, shorter walks. It’s about finding what’s right for you and what you enjoy.

2. Cueing Strategies

Cueing strategies can be used to overcome freezing, which can have an impact on your walking. Visual cues can help give a focus to stepping when freezing happens. You could try placing a piece of coloured tape on the floor at a doorway where you often freeze. Visualising stepping over the tape can help cue movement and fight off freezing. Auditory cues are sound signals which give rhythm to your walking. This can help cue movement when freezing happens, and train the brain to step in a smooth rhythm. Auditory cueing can include walking in time to a specific beat. The Beats Medical App uses a tailored beat to help improve your walking, giving you the specific beat you need each day to build up your rhythm.

3. Practice Good Posture

Correcting posture can help to improve overall mobility. Stooped or hunched posture can be common for people with Parkinson’s, so it’s important to try work on this. Try to practice standing up straight while walking by focusing on a point in front of you. Relax your shoulders as best as possible and try to get your arms swinging in time with your steps. Remember – opposite arm, opposite leg! When your right foot steps forward, your left arm should swing out, and vice versa.

4. Mobility Aids

A mobility aid may be useful for increasing support during walking if you have issues with balance or get tired when walking for longer durations. A walking cane with a rubber tip might be helpful, while some people also like to use walking poles. Speak to your GP, physiotherapist or Parkinson’s specialist to see what’s right for you.

5. Beats Medical Parkinson’s Treatment Service

The Beats Medical service includes daily exercises to improve mobility. You can improve your walking through using the metronome therapy in the app. This provides a sound beat, which is specifically selected for your walking, every day. You walk in time to this beat for a couple of minutes each day to build up the rhythm and quality of your walk. It’s also the only Parkinson’s-specific technology approved by Parkinson’s UK. It also offers exercises for speech volume and clarity, and to work on everyday hand tasks like doing buttons, zippers, handwriting. You can try the service for free for 14 days by signing up here.