Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
Ever since I paired a wearable personal activity tracker with my walking sticks, I’ve more than doubled my speed and stamina. Strangers who see me clipping along stop me on the street and tell me how “athletic” I look. I’ve waited my entire life for anyone to use that adjective to describe anything even remotely related to me. Who would have thought the moment would come in my 16th year of living with Parkinson’s disease? When people ask which event I am training for, I tell them, marathon shopping. It is the only “sport” I stand a chance of medaling in.
I added the activity tracker to my personal fitness program after my physical therapy sessions ended. I had to find a way to motivate myself to preserve the gains I had already made in improved balance and posture; reduced impact on my lower joints; and more effective breathing. High on this year’s list of “must have” fitness gadgets, activity trackers (depending on the brand and model) not only measure how far you walk, but also calculate calories burned as well as sleep time and quality.
While vacationing in Arizona, my goal was to walk an average of 5,000 steps a day (not all at once, of course). On our second morning there, I was greeted by a message congratulating me on achieving a new “personal best,” as I had walked almost 6,000 steps the previous day. On my best day, I topped 7,000 steps. This immediate feedback — which I can view on my phone, tablet and computer — drives me to push myself to break my own records, upping my short and long term goals as my fitness level improves. Back in Chicago, the frightful winter weather makes getting in my required number of steps more challenging. If at the end of the day I come up short, Tony and I walk the mall so I can reach my goal. Retail therapy always works for me.