Lately I haven’t been walking well. I go through spells where I can’t walk very well but this latest walking drought has been….dragging on. Get it…dragging, as in leg dragging….ok Parky Humor, sorry. My days are interspersed with brief periods of walking decently, but trending decidedly more towards struggling to achieve a satisfactory heel-to-toe. When these trends start to emerge, I tend to start to wonder what I’m doing wrong. (Spoiler alert…nothing really). I’ve put on a little weight lately (muscle….mostly), so maybe that somehow is hindering my stride? Or, I reason, that perhaps it’s because I just haven’t been practicing enough? For me, walking is often a bit of a struggle, yes, but when I put in the effort usually I get better at it…at least, I think so. Or maybe my medications might need to be adjusted or even increased a bit? Am I harboring worries that my Parkinson’s is getting worse, and it’s making my Parkinson’s worse? I just don’t know the reason…and often end up blaming myself for any Parky Symptoms, including wonky walking.
The thing is…I DO know what causes my walking problems. Have you ever heard of anyone without Parkinson’s not having sufficient balance, coordination, and/or strength to walk well because they did too much strength training, didn’t practice walking, weren’t taking enough supplementary dopaminergic medications, or they were too stressed? Probably not! The reason I can’t walk well a lot of the time is of course…Parkinson’s! So I shouldn’t be overly hard on myself. At times, I need to remind myself of that.
It might surprise you (If you don’t have Parkinson’s), that all the aforementioned factors actually can seem to potentially have an effect on how well our Parky bodies cooperate. So while it is important for the PwP to take ownership of their body and be responsible about keeping it it working as well as possible, it’s also important for said Parky to not get overly stressed about it or be too hard on themselves when they can’t figure it out. Trust me, it’s really hard (maybe impossible)…to figure out why our Parky symptoms are bad one minute, nearly non-existent the next. Ask any Parky. Ultimately, it’s not us, it’s Parkinson’s. I can hear you fellow Parky’s breath a sigh of relief.
By the way, yesterday before going out to dinner with co-workers (I’m on a work trip) I wasn’t walking well at all so I went….for a walk (Parky Logic). In all seriousness though, later when I went to dinner I was walking almost effortlessly! This is despite struggling to walk a few hours prior. So maybe I do just need more practice? I dunno…but here’s to hoping the trend towards better walking continues!