Parkinson’s PWR! Moves for Balance Club

Vera Shury

Walking forward!

One of the symptoms of Parkinson’s is called freezing. In this case, the feet seem frozen or glued to the floor; it can come on suddenly, unexpectedly, and unpredictably. It can be very confusing for the person with Parkinson’s and their family and friends. One way some of the class members have been able to sometimes overcome it is by concentrating on lifting the knees and by practicing waist high knee lift marches. Sometimes, practicing stepping sideways and regularly practicing change of directions through cones or other obstacles helps.

So, think knee high for practice, or when stuck, and heel high when stepping back! See below as a refresher. Feel free to call with questions.

Dealing with unexpected backward falling

One of the symptoms as Parkinson’s progresses may be (don’t expect to get it, everyone is different) falling backwards. Even normal people have a hard time stepping back. There can be various reasons for this symptom, such as hypotension, weak muscles, loss of depth perception, etc. One thing to consider is strengthening the muscles in the legs and core with modified squats, pushups, mountain climbers, etc.

One of the main points is to re-activate body memory by repetition of correct, safe moves. The group took one or two steps forward and then three to five steps backward while holding onto the high railing to be fully upright and get a normal feel for balance. When stepping back, the important part of the move is to lift the heel high, so the sole of the shoe doesn’t drag and stick, which contributes to loss of balance. They then turned and did the other side. It needs to be repeated many times so that no deliberate thinking has to happen; the body will learn to remember. In martial arts they say 10,000 repetitions.

It is extremely important to be hydrated, take your meds on time, and do mobility exercises up on your feet. Your eyes can be used to help with balance by focusing on something at eye level, once the ground is scanned for safety. Sternum up!

Our class is two days a week, which is really not enough. Members would benefit greatly from participating in two more sessions a week. Exercise, with the medication for Parkinson’s, is the most effective way to delay the progression of the disease, and it helps with a better quality of life!

Visit to check if you have coverage in your health policy, or you can call the number on the back of your insurance card. It is not provided by Medicare.

Visit for United Healthcare and other insurance plans.

The website is for Blue Cross Blue Shield and other insurance plans

Contact club vice president, Hans Von Michaelis, at 303-549-4480 for more information. The annual club dues are $10.

We are listed in SaddleBrooke One under exercise and support. We have quarterly support and educational meetings on the third Thursday of the month from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in SaddleBrooke One Art and Craft Center room 3, next to the gift shop. All are welcome! Visit for Parkinson’s information and support.

You can contact BIG/PWR! certified trainer Vera Shury at 520-275-8755 or [email protected].