Walking with Parkinsons

My partner and I have always walked a lot and for miles. I have been diagnosed with Parkinsons for 2 1/2 years now and find after long walks the next day I can hardly move my legs and I ache all over. My partner says I should push through it but I feel like I should do a lot less walking to stop the muscle ache. What does anybody else think.


Hi @Margs. I don’t have an answer to this but I experience the same thing. The day after I’ve been walking or exercising I am very achy. I do try to ignore it and push through because I hate not being able to do things. I do loosen up fairly quickly once I get moving and medicated though.

Hi margs1,
I too have a similar problem with aching legs after an energetic day and even more so the following morning. Things improve after I get going the next day, but I wasn’t sure if this was linked to Parkinsons. Hemyock

Listen to your body & play it by ear.
I went up to town the other day by train first time since the pandemic for a sorely needed change of scenery but the walking was pretty slow and uncomfortable so I just did a small loop with a break for cake & coffee & back over the Millenium Bridge – my favourite bit.

But another day I know it won’t be the same I’ll just keep going if I’m comfortable & the sun is out.
I mostly walk by myself as if someone is with me trying to talk at the same time causes brain overload and it really is a struggle to push forward. Trying to keep up and not be a nuisance just adds to the stress.
Since my balance deterioration & freezing I’ve been using a recumbent trike which is a lot of fun to ride

Hase kettwiesel

I try & do yoga stretches nearly every day now so my muscles have less excuse to ache. When I go out for a walk I use a walker & I think my posture is not great, can get very tense around the shoulders & right arm especially & neck bent forward. Hopefully the yoga counteracts all that. Don’t take any medication as already got pretty bad dyskinesias & akathisia.

Thank you all for your replies. I guess I will still keep doing my walks but perhaps not quite so far.

Hi @Margs1

Thanks for your message. I am sorry to hear about the aching you are experiencing after going on long walks. We would recommend getting in touch with your Parkinson’s Nurse or GP to discuss this further, as although aching muscles are a common symptom of Parkinson’s, it’s likely that they can provide some recommendations on how to ease the aching.

Alternatively, you can contact the Parkinson’s UK helpline service on 0808 800 0303 or by emailing them at [email protected] and one of our advisers can arrange for a Parkinson’s nurse to call you back to discuss this further with you.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,
Emily - Moderation Team

I would say be careful of the ‘push on through it’ idea. It’s not like a mild muscle strain you can walk off. One of the things I most regret is suggesting to my significant other that they could walk off a limp, and marching them up the hills in the town, before any diagnosis of PD. This was no ordinary limp (if there is such a thing) or a mild muscular injury. Why didn’t I realise?, etc. This is a problem with PD: it’s different, and until you deal with it, you probably don’t have a clue about it. Let’s face it, we have all met some medics who apparently don’t have a clue about it – even some neurologists, sadly.

I agree with the listen to your body plan. Some 20 years on from my hearty “Come on, we’ll soon walk this off” rubbish, I still urge my partner to come and walk with me. But we only walk as much as can be covered safely, otherwise it is counterproductive and only burns off dopamine and spoils the rest of their day. Keep enjoying your walks, they are a joy. Do exercise, but remember dopamine is a limited resource, PD aches are different, and you might need to save a little of yourself for later! I hope you find the right balance.

Take care.

Hello Margs1. It is really important if you are a PD sufferer to still take lots of exercise. Have you tried Nordic Walking? It take some of the strain of propulsion off the legs and gives it to your arms and shoulders instead. They need exercise too! The use of nordic poles also helps with balance and general coordination.
In stats: I (my FitBit) found that just walking 4 miles = 400 cals. The same distance using nordic poles = 550cals. You can buy them online from NordicwalkingUK starting at about £30 per pair, and their website has helpful videos to get you started on the right technique. The poles have made all the difference to me and, unlike the gym, have been used daily during the lockdown. JCPB

Hi, I’ve had this said to me by my other half! Been diagnosed nearly 3 years. What I have discovered is not pushing your body too far. A bit of discomfort is good but not that you can’t do anything the following day. As someone else said about using up the dopamine levels - that is what happens. Sunshine helps, being exciting helps and any other stimulation that makes you feel happy helps to improve dopamine levels. Exercise is a must but building it up rather than diving in the deep end. PD is different for us all but only you can judge what is not enough and what is too much - bareing in mind that PD does have a habit of telling you not to do something that is good for you! Unfortunately it is a balancing act. The neurological nurse I used to see (sadly left!!!) told me early on that it was a balancing act - getting the balance of exercise right for me as an individual. I have found the mental side is equally important - finding things that stimulate the brain in pleasurable ways and help it to produce its own dopamine. Hope my ramblings help.

Can I just mention the Parkinsons Warrior Class method of walking. You stride out (nearly like marching) swinging your arms to propel you along. It feels a bit exaggerated st first but somehow clicks your brain into walking better. It also helps improve your posture. I can go from shuffling along in a sorry state to passing slower walkers.
I still get sore legs like the others mention but the trick is to find your limit - easier said than done

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I’m 15 years post-diagnosis and can still walk 10 miles. I find that taking an extra pill (in my case an extra 75 mg of Stalevo, roughly equivalent to 100 mg Sinemet) helps when I’m doing a long walk.