Parkinson’s is a movement disorder and affects a person’s ability to move in a smooth and coordinated way. It effects people differently; people don’t share the same symptoms to the same degree. For example, some people become stiff and cannot move, as if they are paralyzed. Others experience tremors and shake uncontrollably. Parkinson’s patients get caught in-between these two undesirable states. They are continually using their medication to search for balance amid these two disagreeable alternatives.
I learned from my father that an unused car will deteriorate faster than a car driven every day. As it turns out, a car left unused can suffer from maladies like: dead batteries, rodent infestation, flat tires, moisture in the fuel tank, dried out and cracked rubber hoses and belts, and worst of all, a seized engine. A car that is used regularly will rarely succumb to any of these conditions.
The same is true for humans. If we don’t use our muscles, they atrophy. I remember after I had deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, the nurses wanted me up and walking around as soon as I could. Moving about gets a person’s blood flowing which facilitates healing.
It’s important for me to keep moving physically. Any exercise that is helpful to maintain health and strength is good – even if it’s just walking down to the mailbox. I need to use my time wisely and be active as much as possible while my medication is working. I do have my limitations, because when I’m out and about too much, I get fatigued and my meds don’t seem to work as well. Being active requires energy and I must get rest and stay hydrated to feel my best. I need to listen to my body.
I don’t have a coach, but I can see how having one would be beneficial. A coach would push me physically and emotionally, past my comfort level. A coach would tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
So, I function best when I have a plan for the day – a goal to reach. I’m perfectly content to stay at home every day, but I must admit, it’s better for me to try to get out of the house each day. I have found that volunteerism suits me well. This helps me get out of the house and stay connected to people. It gives me a purpose. I’ve concluded it’s paramount for me to keep moving.