Nature has a remarkable potential to boost our well-being, and many nature lovers look forward to being more active during the summer. Research has shown that access to blue and green spaces can have a positive impact on our mental and physical health, as highlighted in a recent article by the Parkinson's Foundation. As you prepare for your summer travel plans with friends and family, here's a quick guide to help you get fit for your upcoming summer activities, such as nature walks, hikes, water activities, and more!
Assessing Your Physical Fitness:
Self-assessment is a crucial first step in understanding your current physical capabilities and limitations. By assessing your aerobic capacity, balance, strength, and fatigue levels, you can gain insights into your fitness level and communicate the results with your PD Care team.
Here are some ways to self-assess your physical fitness:
Measure your daily step counts using a smartwatch or phone app.
Assess your exercise tolerance by measuring the time taken to perform daily exercises and the level of exertion.
Evaluate your physical activity level by observing the ease of performing your regular routine and household chores.
Assess your balance by observing your ease of standing without support.
Standing on one leg and reaching task in standing.
Dual tasks like walking and talking or carrying objects.
Any balance issues while walking on even and uneven terrains.
Evaluate your strength by observing your ease of:
Getting up and down from a chair/couch.
Going up and down stairs.
Loading and unloading your trunk following grocery shopping.
Carrying weights while walking and getting up from the floor.
Observe any issues of early fatigue or tiredness.
Gait changes such as slowness of gait or difficulty arm swinging.
Preparing for Summer Activities:
Once you have assessed your physical fitness, you can make incremental and positive changes to your daily physical activities to prepare for summer activities. Here are some tips to help you get ready for the summer season:
Consult with Your PD Care Team: It's important to communicate with your healthcare provider, such as a PD physical therapist, about your assessment results, goals, and any questions or thoughts you may have. They can provide tailored guidance and recommendations based on your individual needs.
Gradual Progression: Make incremental changes to your physical activities and gradually advance your fitness level. Avoid sudden or drastic changes that may lead to injuries or overexertion. Listen to your body and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
Train for Specific Activities: If you have specific summer activities in mind, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, or water activities, consider incorporating specific training exercises into your routine. Your PD physical therapist can provide you with exercises that can help you improve your fitness for these activities.
Be Mindful of Safety: Always prioritize safety during your summer activities. Wear appropriate footwear, use any assistive devices if needed, and be cautious of uneven terrain or other hazards. Stay hydrated, protect yourself from excessive sun exposure, and be aware of any potential risks associated with your activities.
Enjoy the Outdoors: Remember that the goal is to enjoy the outdoors and have fun! Take time to appreciate the beauty of nature, connect with your friends and family, and make lasting memories during your summer activities.
As you prepare for the summer season, it's important to assess your physical fitness, work with your healthcare team, and make appropriate changes to your physical routine to get ready and active. By following these tips and guidelines, you can make the most of your summer activities and manage your PD effectively. Stay strong, stay active, and enjoy your summer!
Let us know if you have any questions and would love to hear your thoughts on your preparation for summertime activities. Feel free to reach us at email@example.com and schedule a free PD-specific Rehab consultation call.
I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it's proactive and there is positive intent behind it. - Michael J. Fox
Geneshka, M., Coventry, P., Cruz, J., & Gilbody, S. (2021). Relationship between Green and Blue Spaces with Mental and Physical Health: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Observational Studies. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 18(17). doi:10.3390/ijerph18179010
USDA. (2021). The Wellness Benefits of the Great Outdoors. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Communication.