It’s Not Just Walking

While the starting tips I placed on this site are quite helpful, they are merely a starting point for you. They are intended to show you some of your own potential after applying a little bit of effort. If you understood and applied the information correctly you should have noted that your balance and movements improved. And with that improvement you undoubtedly were happy with the results YOU made for yourself. Now you need to do something to make it a permanent part of you. Better still, now you need to do something to “bump it up a notch.”

Let’s begin with your thought process. You’ve seen yourself do better when you practiced some simple concepts. Then you probably saw yourself fall back into your old ways when you “forgot to think about what you just learned”, or you stopped using what you learned altogether,
for whatever the reason.

One of the biggest reasons I’ve witnessed is the “I’m too tired” factor. Yep, been there, done that. You do a little bit and love the experience; then reality kicks your fanny. Now you’re clumsier than you were before…..right? And you’re stiff from exercising a little to strengthen your legs and you have to “rest” for a couple days because you’re clumsier than you were on one of your “bad days”…….right? You just can’t win, because, no matter what you do, this disorder in your head isn’t going to allow it! Yep, been there, done that! This first step is by far the most difficult.


All of us have a pity wagon we hop on every now and then; me too. But I really want you to try something for yourself. Set yourself time limits for being on your pity wagon L to the best of your ability. Boy is that tough sometimes. And let’s face it, sometimes we deserve to be up there.
Just try to not go there as much.

Here’s a short story I witnessed on this subject.
I was in a store the other day when a voice from behind me politely said, “Excuse me please, I can’t walk without my walker and I have to lean over this cart to move….I’m sooooo tired.” I was inadvertently blocking the aisle in my search of the merchandise on the lower shelf. “Oh I’m sorry”, I replied and quickly stood and moved to one side. Initially, I expected that I would need to help this person from what was spoken, but there was a tone to the voice which led me to have the hunch that things weren’t quite that bad. You’ve heard the voice and sometimes thought,
“And would you like some cheese with that whine?”

As I watched this person walk past me in search of a store employee, and complaining all the way, there were at least three times in as many minutes where the drama star entered onto the stage. Whenever someone else approached, or when this person wanted some attention, the disabling condition became much worse and labored. However, when this person was alone, examining some merchandise, and then talking about it with a store employee, the disabling condition suddenly dissipated substantially. Sounds like one of your kids trying to get out of going to school doesn’t it?
It was that obvious.

My point here is simple, try your best to not make your situation worse in your mind than what it really is.
So let’s assume that you are psyched about the vision you have formulated and committed to make it happen. (NO, I didn’t say psycho, as some of your family and friends might lightly joke. L) Ok, well maybe you can only muster an, “I really would like some of my normal back Doc…….but I’m having problems totally buying into the idea that I could……” That’s OK. That just means you’re just as normal as me; and everyone else.

But hold on tight to that little glimmer of hope. Hold on to that little glimmer of light way out there in the distance. It’s that little glimmer which is going to help push you forward when the going gets tougher. That’s the difference between you, and those who have given up, or can’t see themselves ever doing any better. Now use it to your advantage before you change your mind! AGAIN!!!

Let’s begin the next process. You are going to search out the best Wellness Center, gym or fitness club in the area. I want you to search for the one which has not only the strengthening machines (free weights are not for us), but also personal trainers, movement classes and cycling. (Pools optional depending on your situation.) Next go to the facility and talk to the person in charge of the center and/or the person in charge of the programs. Tell them about your diagnosis, problems and reasons for being there. Tell them you want as much of your normal back as you can possibly find. You need to hear them say to you, “We can help you. We can work safely with your disabilities in a safe environment and help you get better.”
Ask them if they have any other people with disabilities who use the facility.

You need to find a place where you feel comfortable and the staff is knowledgeable.
Here is a good example, and it’s where I go: LMHS wellness centers home page (the Cape Coral center)

When I reference movement classes I am referring to Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, martial arts, or the many other offerings which will provide you with instruction in stretching, balancing and movement skills. There are many different activities of this sort to affect the same desired effect. Some have a name, some don’t. Any of them have a place for somebody. So, if it looks like fun and/or provides you with a challenge, by all means go for it. For example, the many forms of dance will offer you some fun, improve your skills and enlighten your social life. There is nothing quite like losing yourself to the music and mood of the dance floor. Your goal is to work yourself up into a total body fitness program.
You will amaze yourself at the results within a few months. You’ll then want more and look forward to the next “bump it up a notch.” You’ll know when the time is right to add more to your work out diet as you progress.

And remember that vision I told you to find within yourself. Keep it with you each and every step. In the beginning your ambitious attempts may become stifled by the reality of your disorder. May become stifled…..? More honestly spoken, they will become stifled mainly by you! It will be a grueling task at first. You’re going to battle your mind and body….repeatedly. The small improvements won’t be that obvious to you, but some of the other people will notice and offer encouragement. You will continue to judge yourself according to other people, their abilities and their progress.

This is where you really, really have to be disciplined with yourself, your limitations, your goals and your reality.
Re-focus on the vision and put it into realistic proportions. You will modify it over and over again as you keep progressing. This means that it’s going to grow bigger and include more. Trust me. Use your vision to keep your head in the game. Use it to motivate you. Use your small triumphs to boost your enthusiasm and celebrate each and every one of them. I don’t care how small they may seem to someone else; it’s yours……enjoy it…..
you earned it the good old fashion way.

Excuses! You’re going to come up with so many of them for this thing and that thing, this move and that move, I can’t and there’s no way, the thing in my head won’t let me, I’ll fall if I try that, to whatever it is you can imagine………I think I used them all. Luckily for me I was surrounded by some people at the time who essentially said, “And that makes you special….uh….how?” And they were right.

They wouldn’t let me “cheat” because of my disorder. I had to do it the correct way to dance with them. And that, my friends, is much of the frustration you will deal with. It is very difficult to watch others master the same movement, and move on to something else, while you continue to struggle and struggle and……….and finally something clicks. Then you celebrate!

This process will repeat itself like a wave on a still pond. One day you’re on the top, riding high and feeling great. The next you’re down in the trough struggling; wondering why you’re putting yourself through the agony. But you’re stubborn. You’ve felt the changes and your balance, coordination and walking is so much better. As you walk you can actually look up off the ground and maintain your stride as you feel the wind on your face instead of on the top of your head. It’s wonderful. You’re attitude, ambitions and outlook have all improved; and people have taken note.
And it’s about right here that it hits you. You find that YOU have become the inspiration and motivation for others.
Once again you’ll feel motivated, but this time it’s different and much more powerful.

It’s contagious. I pray you become infected with it!