Good Morning! Today is Sunday August 30, 2020. I hope you are enjoying my Blog! I am having so much fun writing! I am thankful that it has cooled down. If I was not sure about how the intense heat and humidity would affect me, I am crystal clear now. PD was in its glory during the heat wave and made sure that I was fatigued and light headed. Now that it has cooled down, PD has been banished. I took Cecilia's Mat Pilates class yesterday and did really well. I am happy to write that I am becoming more and more flexible again. I attribute my unfolding flexibility to consistent stretching and my Pilates practice. My goal at the moment is to be able to bend forward and have my chest touch the ground, (once I am in a straddle stretch position on the floor). I am getting super close at this point. I am going to guesstimate that I will reach my current goal by this Friday (5 days from today). if not sooner. Even when I do reach my goal, I will have to work diligently everyday to make sure I stay flexible, strong and fluid. As mentioned previously, PD is on a mission to wreak havoc with my body, by tightening up every single muscle it can. I know I sound like a broken record but..... I can never stress enough how important it is to keep moving and to get yourself strong. Your body will thank you for it, as will your brain. I am going to share with you what I do to help combat PD's physical symptoms (besides my meds). These are things that are working for me. You may want to try some of them. Please feel free to share any other things that you do to help combat PD.
The number one thing I do everyday is to stretch before and after I take a Pilates class. Well, allow me to rephrase that. I stretch before and after I do any type of exercise. Back in the 1980s, there were these amazing 75 minute stretch and strengthen classes (designed for dancers) at a studio close to my house. Those stretch classes were created by the one and only Jane Fonda, and are still by far the safest and best classes that I have ever taken (keep in mind if you watch her videos that those classes are NOT for beginners). From the amazing music to the upbeat atmosphere, it was great fun! All of the instructors were professional dancers and it showed! I loved those classes so much, that I added some of the stretches I learned into my "bag of tricks". On my off days (from exercising), I still stretch for at least 20 minutes, usually in the morning. I put on my favorite tunes and slowly stretch my entire body, starting with my head. Because of my strong dance background, I have quite the repertoire of go to stretches that I consider to be perfect for my issues (rigidity). There are lots of stretching videos available online for you to peruse. Please be careful of who you watch online, as some instructors are not safe and have you stretching in ways that will do more harm than good. As with anything new, be sure to check with your Dr. before beginning any type of exercise program.
This morning, I actually googled Jane Fonda and found one of her original stretch and tone classes from back in the day! It was an eye opener for me. I did fabulously until we got to the plie section of class. A plie (pronounced pleeee aaaay) is a ballet term. It essentially means to bend your knees (keeping them aligned with your feet) and then straightening them, while standing up with perfect posture. During this section of her class, plies were done from a first and second position. The idea was to plie repeatedly and then add the feet and calve muscles into the mix. Not to mention doing all this while balancing your body's weight on your legs. I definitely found my weakness and that would be my ankles and feet. I have got my work cut out for me. Practice practice practice!
After doing Jane's "refresher" class, I realize that I must do things to regain my foot and ankle strength. The reality is that until recently, my right foot was so disconnected and weak, that I had a hard time even lifting my foot up to do any type of exercise, let alone stretch and curl my frozen toes (not literally frozen, but I was unable to move them). Sadly, I had to use my hands to help lift my right foot up and to maneuver my toes. Something I do everyday now is to roll my feet (one at a time) with my Franklin ball. Franklin balls (they come in sets of two) are small flexible balls that help stimulate nerves in your feet, while helping to strengthen them at the same time. All you do is simply (either sitting or standing) place the ball under one of your feet and roll it around slowly. In the beginning of my PD journey, my right foot felt extremely detached from the rest of my body. I could barely lift it as it was severely weak. I tripped over my feet many times and luckily I never fell. Every time I used the Franklin ball, my foot would tingle and it felt really good! I knew my nerves were trying their hardest to regenerate themselves. Now that I am on the correct meds, I am back in touch with the right side of my body. I still use a Franklin ball everyday, and will continue to do so. Until you are steady on your feet (and you will know when you are), I recommend staying seated when you first try your Franklin ball. They are available on Amazon. As this post is getting a bit long, I will continue it in a new post! See you there.
🏋🏻♀️ This was me at my gym before PD came a knockin'. Sitting in this stretch was easy and comfy for me. I will get there again because I don't give up 🤸🏼♀️