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  • Walking

    Hi all,

    I'm continually trying to fine tune my walking and plan to walk without sticks. I'm just not sure when. It sounds like walking is a preoccupation for many of us. There have been some great posts recently with good information. I thought it would be great to build on this and put it as a thread.

    My left hip flexor is weak so my left leg drags ands is hard to move forward. There is a degree of spasticity that also hinders forward motion. I use a bungee type cord clipped to my shoe attached to a shoulder belt. Not only dose this help with the foot drop, it helps move the leg forward in a normal swing using the muscle correctly, thereby training it at the same time.

    I know Veronica posted a great treadmill routine-maybe it should move here?


    It would be great to hear other experiences.

    Take care all,

    Teena Marie

  • #2
    I love walking, it is one of the best exercises for those of us with MS. I always use forearm crutches and they have saved me from falling numerous times. One suggestion for anyone walking outside, go to a police supply store and buy a can of pepper spray to ward off dog attacks.

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    • #3
      Paul, Where do you live that you have to deal with roving dog attacks on people walking? Sounds terrifying!

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      • #4
        I live the beautiful southwest. Here in Albuquerque loose dogs are not uncommon. I have also been within 20 feet of wild coyotes. Usually they leave people alone but on occasion they get aggressive.

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        • #5
          TM, I had to wait a while before responding here but I think I can say, with out a doubt now, that stair climbing is helping my walking. It's most apparent in the mornings and, as usual, has evaporated by evening but there is the early hour or two when it's quite noticeable. I've been walking up and down a flight of 12 stairs about 6 times a day. Walking down is actually more difficult.

          Also, a PT I saw a few weeks ago suggested that I concentrate on lifting my knee when I walk and it worked. If you can lift the knee, the foot will follow and tends to automatically kick out in front. It takes some concentration and there is still a gait involved but it's not the pronounced foot dragging it used to be.

          Paul, no shortage of coyotes here either but the most dangerous encounter I've had to date was a friendly pup who jumped up on me while I was standing over my bike and knocked me down.

          Larry
          Last edited by AMFADVENTURES; 08-13-2014, 11:15 PM.

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          • #6
            stairs, dogs

            Larry, have you tried walking downstairs backwards? It works, as long as there is a good handrail, and is easier on your knees.

            Coyotes: lots here (Los Alamos, NM), trotting along in the day time. More danger to adults from little ankle-biting fluffy dogs "under voice control."

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            • #7
              Hi all,

              Larry, I agree with the knee lifting but have difficulty on the left side although I keep trying.

              My latest is to concentrate on the rolling motion of my feet. It seems to trigger good impulses up my leg.

              Veronica, how is the treadmill routine? I've used a treadmill a few times. It's hard to find one that goes slow enough. I need one that starts at 0 mph. I'll look into it again this fall.

              I also find crawling helps. Crawling out of the water onto the beach has been good.

              I've been going down stairs backwards for some time. I agree, Celia. It's safer and easier on the knees.

              Take care all,

              Teena Marie

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              • #8
                Hi all: Teena Marie, you asked how the treadmill routine is going....I am so happy with this...I see progress on the treadmill ( and I believe very subtle changes for the positive in real life walking...) Just to review what this is:


                Three times a week:
                I do 7 minutes of walking at whatever pace works for me so that I can keep perfect/very good form and control/stop the foot dragging or scuffing or the knee slamming back. Then I take a 4 minute rest where I lay on the bed and really give my calves and hamstrings a good stretch. This is followed by three more sets of 6 minutes on/ 4 off. And at the end of each walking set I increase the speed to as fast as I can safely walk for all of a few seconds just to remind my legs how to move that fast...good ol' muscle memory)

                On alternate days: I am to just walk on the treamill without using anything to hold on to for all of 1 minute.

                Once a month: The collapse point walk: I am using the cross training feature now of my mill ( like trekking poles) so I can really get a more natural stride rather than holding on the fixed side of the mill. Here I am to just walk at whatever pace is most comfortable, and keep walking until I cannot control the bad form, and record the time and distance.

                Two days ago when I did the collapse point walk, I walked 23 minutes ( last month I only lasted 17 minutes) I went at a slightly slower pace than last month, as I am more and more aware of my left ( good) leg/foot twisting and grabbing at the ground to counter any off balancing. At a slower pace this did not happen. My distance did not go up much ( from .600 to .66) but it increased, and that is all that matters to me.
                My PT and I have a goal of me being able to do 1.6 miles on the mill in six months.God knows if that will work out, but I am excited about this goal. Also is so nice to have a cardio exercise that I can just do at home when I have a little time, or just feel like moving. I even ENJOYED the collapse point walk the other day. Shocking, again!
                Thanks for starting this thread Teena Marie. All the talk about the stairs reminds me to work abit more on this.....
                Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.

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                • #9
                  Hi all,

                  Veronica, what a detailed description of your workout. It has really inspired me to get a treadmill. I'm so happy you feel it's helping. I think what's good is the attention to form. It fits with my belief in re-training-good form is more important in the long term than speed.

                  Yesterday, I was visiting a friend in a hospital. It felt so good to walk on a flat surface after a summer of lumpy terrain. I was able to pay attention to all the muscles in my foot and it really seemed to help. The other thing I do is a daily visualization exercise where I "walk" normally across a room. I do 50 paces and really concentrate on the left/right arm swinging and leg extensions. I'm planning to make this part of my morning routine before heading out the door to work.

                  Take care all,

                  Teena Marie

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                  • #10
                    You've made a believer out of me TM. Concentrating on form does seem to help considerably.

                    Larry

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                    • #11
                      Hi all,

                      Tonight with my visualization, I really felt the disconnect with the left/right, hip/shoulder circuit. So I slowed things down and really concentrated on the action. What was interesting was the tingling feeling I got in my hips which fits with the notion that thinking through a motion is capable of stimulating pathways. I'm also quite tired which makes me feel it was work. I'll report back on how and when this translates to gait changes.

                      Take care all,

                      Teena Marie

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                      • #12
                        Hi,

                        I also use a breathing technique always to the count of 5. Breathing in to 5-abdomen inflated like a balloon, hold it for 5, exhaling for 5 thinking of bringing the abdomen to touch the spine. Especially this last action is accessing some deep core muscles I've previously been unable to activate. This in turn is helping my walking, especially on the left. I'm encouraged.

                        Take care,

                        Teena Marie

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                        • #13
                          Teena Marie, all I can say is you are really workin' it . Very impressive to me....

                          And don't you love it when you can "wake up" a muscle and reactivate it, even if it is ever so slight to begin with? Yeay for us!
                          Be thankful. Dream Big. Never Give Up.

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                          • #14
                            Hi Teena Maria,

                            Great thread! I used to visualize my golf swing back when I still played. It didn't work miracles but It helped keep my drives closer to the fairway

                            I never thought of using that same visualizing technique to improve my walking or any other daily challenges that I face with MS....until I read this thread. I was amazed with the results! With visualizing I definitely get more of a lift when I'm tackling stairs. I also tried Larry's suggestions and concentrated on lifting the knee when walking . That definitely helped as well! Or even after doing some floor exercises, if I have trouble getting back on my feet. If I visualize the movement required I get an extra boost.*

                            As far as my condition I also have a weak left leg, in fact my whole left side is weak. And I use a WalkAide as my foot drop became too severe. I also use walking sticks at home and a rollator when I go out. I agree that crawling and climbing stairs helps with walking. I've also been trying to keep my back straight or stand upright as staying bent over decreases my core muscle involvement...which has over time *weakened my overall core strength. When walking laps at the gym I mix in short spurts of power or speed walking.While it's anything but graceful to an observer I find that after the short spurt my normal walking gait improves.

                            The one other thing I think is worth mentioning is my "second wind" after midnight. It doesn't happen all the time, and I can't find a pattern or make any sense as to what triggers it. But if I find myself awake at that time on occasion I get this incredible boost of energy. Its like I drop a point on the EDSS scale. I can actually take a few steps with no aids. I'm moving quicker, I can do full knee lifts. The neighbours probably think I'm crazy because all of a sudden I'm doing housework after midnight. Does anyone else experience this?*


                            "the only difference between a happy ending and a sad ending is where you decide the story ends."
                             Andrew Kaufman

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                            • #15
                              Hello,

                              I have noticed if I have to get back up after going to bed that I also move with more ease. Although I'd have to say housecleaning at that hour is not so appealing! I totally agree about core strength helping us with being straight and upright. Do keep us posted about your visualization experiences.

                              I continue with my routine although not as regularly. It helps centre me and there have been times I feel it has had a positive impact on my gait. I definitely have more stamina and my timed walk is faster.

                              How is the treadmill routine, Veronica?

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