Step by Step is a 12 week walking program, beginning in April, aimed at improving physical fitness to combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Walkers are encouraged to gradually increase the distance walked for a self-determined end goal distance. We hope that at the completion of the program, individuals will continue a regular exercise routine.
Those interested in participating should contact Shelly Yu, who will connect you with a volunteer leader in your area for weekly group walks where available. If there is no walk leader in your community, this program can be completed solo or with a partner/group of your choosing. Program booklets will be mailed to all participants to help them track and achieve their walking goals!
*The Step by Step poster is a fillable PDF form. If you need help editing this file and preparing it for print, please reach out to Shelly Yu at email@example.com.
Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay physically fit. It’s also a versatile form of exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors, and you can tailor the intensity of your exercise. These tips can help you get the most from your workout.
- Before starting, check with your doctor if you have a chronic medical condition or if you have had a recent injury. But don’t assume that you aren’t able to start walking if you do have medical issues. Various forms of exercise can help control PD progression and symptoms.
- Invest in good shoes. Since these are the only expense and equipment you’ll need, pay attention to the fit and quality of your shoes. Shoes should have good arch support and a slightly elevated stiff heel to prevent wobbling.
- Always warm up by walking at a slow or normal walking pace for five minutes before picking up the tempo of your workout.
- Pay attention to your heart rate and breathing. Walk at a pace that challenges you and elevates your heart rate, but don’t overdo it. You should be able to talk and carry a conversation while you are exercising; if you can’t, you may be working too hard.
- Use good walking posture. Swing your arms. Keep your head up, back straight and think about lifting the feet slightly higher than normal to ensure ground clearance.
- Walk with a partner, or bring a mobile phone with you to ensure safety if help is needed.
- Be sure to carry water if you’re walking long distances or are exercising in hot weather. Don’t forget to wear a hat with a brim and apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
- Bring your medications to ensure you take them on time. Or time your walks to match the times when your medication is most effective.
- Vary your route if you’re getting bored. Alternate routes on different days of the week. Many people walk with a buddy or in groups for support and motivation.
- To increase your fitness, add a route with some hills or changes in terrain.
You may have problems with balance and posture which, in turn, can affect your centre of gravity. If you walk with a shuffle or find that you begin walking normally and progress to shorter faster steps until you are almost running on the balls of your feet, there may be potential for a fall. Here are some suggestions for improving your safety:
- Use a walking aid if you feel you need a bit of support, or walk with a partner. Beware of using a walking aid with severe tremors, as it may actually be more harmful than useful.
- Make sure your feet are not too close together. Widen your stance to improve balance.
- Wear comfortable shoes. If you shuffle, avoid rubber or crepe soles.
- Stand as straight as you can, life the feet high, and think about taking big steps to avoid catching toes on the changing ground surfaces (eg. curb to pavement or carpet to bare floor).
- If freezing, try to think about stoming the feet, or use visual targets like lines on the ground to help you take a step. You could also listen to music while walking (2/2 time).
- Consult a physiotherapist. They can assess your overall safety and mobility, as well as teach you what to do if you fall.
If you fall, stay calm! Take a moment to check whether you are injured. If you are, stay where you are and call for help. If you are not injured, you can try getting up from the ground.
We are currently recruiting Step by Step leaders. For more information on the program, or starting a group in your community, please contact:
Shelly Yu, Education & Support Services Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org | 1-800-668-3330
Step by Step leaders have already been secured in the following locations:
- Maple Ridge
- Port Coquitlam / Tricities
- Sunshine Coast
Step by Step is a program organized by Parkinson Society British Columbia (PSBC) and adapted with permission from the American Parkinson Disease Association, Wisconsin Chapter. It is made possible by the generous contributions of our donors.