How Many Pd Patients to overcome Benefited by Fast Walking?

How Many Pd Patients  to overcome Benefited by Fast Walking?

I am getting too old to try to motivate a controlled study about the advantages of doing fast walking to overcome some of the symptoms of Pd. What I do know for certain is that all but three of the many hundreds, or even thousands, of people I have shown how to consciously control their walking, have failed to understand how to do it. All the others have been immediately ale to walk properly.

Perhaps we can start off by asking all those, who have gained benefit from the fast walking, to write in and tell us all about what has happened to them.

The amazing result has been that those people, who have taken up regular fast walking have all noticed an improvement in many of their symptoms, as I have.

It took me eight years before I plucked up courage to come off my medication and have been medication-free since 2002.


48 Replies

  • Wonderful photo of the two of you. You both look very happy Mary

  • JohnPepper asks 2 questions.

    1. How Many Pd Patients to overcome Benefited by Fast Walking?

    I don't understand the question. I suspect it might be a trick question. I'm going to skip it.


    This one is more straightforward. In my case I would lose my ability to exercise. I get discomfort in my right knee when I jog or fast-walk. I don't have this problem when I do high-cadence cycling.

  • We've nothing to lose Jon but I'm saddened by how despite lots of walking and lots of cycling I'm definitely getting worse and having to increase my meds to be 'normal'. You'll never alter your outlook but it just doesn't work for everybody, as with the coconut oil. It's far too complicated a disease to believe that 'if I can do it, why can't everyone'? Each person's cause of PD is probably very different as is their DNA and this probably affects progression and response.

  • Please allow me to respond to each valid point you make:

    1. More than 99% of all the people I have shown how to walk properly have been able to do so. That means that they no longer shuffle and can walk quite fast straight away. So in my way of thinking, if the patient can walk properly, regardless of 'what type of Pd he/she has' it matters not!

    2. Being able to walk properly and safely is essential to being able to walk fast.

    3. Cycling also gets positive results but it has to be at maximum effort, and that is difficult.

    4. We have to exercise at maximum effort in order to make the brain produce the GDNF, which I firmly believe it does.

    5. We have to maintain the high level of effort for a maximum of one hour, three times a week. You cannot start at that level, you have to build up slowly over a period of at least six months.

    6. you have to walk or cycle three times a week, for maximum results.

    6. If you did not walk or cycle at maximum levels of exertion you will not get better. Be honest with yourself, did you walk flat out? Did you maintain that speed for a period of one hour three times a week? Did you walk properly and safely? If not, then how can you expect to get the results?

  • JohnPepper said: "Cycling also gets positive results but it has to be at maximum effort"

    No it doesn't have to be at maximum effort!

    The protocol for the clinical trial specified a cadence of between 80 and 90 RPM, and a heart-rate of between 60% and 85% of HRmax, where HRmax is simply calculated as 220 minus your age. Forty minutes per session, three sessions per week.

  • What was that specification intended to achieve? Was it claimed to be able to improve Pd symtoms?

  • The clinical trial was an experiment to see whether the improvements observed during a cross-country tandem bike ride could be reproduced in the lab.

    The outcome of the experiment was that the specified protocol was found to achieve "improved motor function and central nervous system function (increase in cortical and subcortical activation)".

    The link in my previous comment is to the full research paper.

  • 85% of maximum HR for any extended period is Maximum effort.

  • Hi Rscott,

    Thanks for your input.

    Yes, the upper limit of the protocol's specification for heart rate (85% of HRmax), for an extended period, could be considered maximum effort.

    However, the lower limit of the protocol's specification for heart rate (60% of HRmax), for forty minutes, would not (IMHO).


  • I agree with you! But how do we know when we are walking at 85% HR? Being a simple person, I know that if I am unable to talk, while I am walking, I am walking too fast. If I can say a couple of words, that is about the right speed. If I can talk normally, I am wasting my time and energy.

  • You could wear a heart-rate monitor, but your fast-walking rule-of-thumb sounds fine to me.

  • I assume the heart-rate monitor would fit on the wrist? I would find it hard to look at my wrist area, while walking because I have to concentrate so hard on the walking that taking my concentration off the walking would probably cause me to stumble or fall. I have poor eyesight, which would make it even more difficult, as I do not wear my glasses when walking.

  • I used one initially, but now, like you, I can tell when I'm doing it right.

  • I assume you are talking about fast walking?

  • Fast walking (in your case), and high-cadence cycling (in my case).

  • Morning John. New to this forum so only just catching up with you and your experiences. 12moths + ago I was a shambling wreck of a man but I taught myself how to run. I too couldn't look down at my heart monitor or I would stumble and fall. So I learnt to hold it high infront of my face.Also at the end of a 5km run , I tended to carry on and needed "catchers" to stop me. Subsequently I now run , look down at my fitness watch , check for holes in the track, and can even look over my shoulder to see who is running up behind me. I think it was pure b***dy mindedness on my part that has helped me get this far. But I am a firm believer in exercise. The harder you can take the better your results will be. Mike

  • Well done Mike!

  • Thanks! I would love to see a study comparing several exercise protocols to see which is the best. However, whatever form of exercise that brings about an improvement in our condition is 100 times better than taking medication, which does absolutely nothing to improve our condition.

    Doctors should be putting all their patients onto an exercise program before they even consider prescribing medication.

  • Caro Giovanni, sei una persona intelligente e sensibile, e questa ultima osservazione lo conferma completamente. Condivido pienamente il tuo ragionamento.

  • No doubt Italian is a beautiful language. But for those who do not understand it completely, here is the result from Google Translate:

    "Dear Giovanni (John), you are an intelligent and sensitive person, and this last observation fully confirms it. I fully share your reasoning."

  • Thanks!

  • Can anybody translate this for me please?

  • Exercise is medicine, people who are into learning about their condition and taking responsibility for their own health know this. Fast walking has never been proven the best or the only one. We must all find the one or more that suits us as an individual. Sadly i have never met anyone who has reversed pd, only those who live well despite pd - exercise is part of that. This is an encouraging clip.

  • John I have taken your words to heart. Not up to an hour yet but a good half hour with added stretches,light weights, and a bike sprint every day. Just diagnosed. Taking a ton of supplements, eliminated sugar, using mucuna instead od ld/cd. Seems to be helping me function. Thanks for your advice.

  • John

    I'm not up to a full hr of fast walking, but I have found 30 or so mins coupled with vigourous rowing for 15 mins to be far superior to my old routine of 60 min on the tread mill. And I am gradually increasing my fast-walking duration in hopes of achieving the "flight v. fight" level of arousal of my brain that you associate with PD reversal.

    I have taken your advice to not have a full workout every day. Gives my muscles time to refresh. I have also added core strength exercises on my full workout days. Together with rowing, I am now in full command of my upper body movements, including being able to dribble a basketball with both hands. Sorry to report, however, that my shooting is as bad as when I tried out for the basketball jr varsity in high school!

    I have this full workout 4 times per week. Then, on the light days I try to moderate to fast walk a mile or more. When weather permits, I attach a long leash to my strong Golden Retriever, Roxie, and let her pull me to and from over open terrain.

    The rest in between the full workout days has enabled me to avoid mid-night leg spasms.

    Your book, Reversing Parkinson's Disease, has been invaluable.

  • Hi I agree and have also found John's book excellent. I have been fast walking for some months now and do find it beneficial however I have terrible pains across my shoulders and down my neck that it takes 20 mins before I can continue. Anyone else experienced this?

  • This sounds like tension to me. I am not trained for this but I have to see that me shoulders are being held down, while I am walking, and not held up in a tensed position. Check your shoulders while you are walking.

  • Try stretching shoulders. Roundhouse swings. Backward and forward. Try touching shoulder blades back and also grab trapezius muscle as you swing arms in windmill motion. This relaxes the trapezius

  • Thanks! I assume you mean before and/or after the walking. It would be impossible to do it while walking flat-out.

  • Of course. I prefer after. However I do some arm exercises while walking to up my heart rate. Walking in the park and nature path also helps my psyche

  • If your goal is to do fast walking to reverse your Pd symptoms then you need to do it for up to one hour, without interruptions, at nearly maximum effort. I have tried to do the arms swinging as you indicate but cannot do it at maximum walking speed.

  • so the fast walking that you do doesnt include the swinging arms??

  • I carry a one kilogram weight in each hand and swing my arms across my body at 45 degrees about 40 mm (16 inches) of movement. Other people swing their arms backwards and forwards with about 3 feet of hand travel. That is slower than across the body.

  • You sound like you lead a very busy life. You must allow your muscles to recover from high levels of exercise. I am very impressed with what you are doing.

    With the shooting for the hoop, all I can suggest is to find some way of doing it differently, which would mean that you would then be using your conscious brain to do it.

  • Keep up the good work. Don't expect the Pd to disappear in a year. You will soon start to feel a lot fitter and stronger. Well done!

  • i do it myself i have done for the last 20 years but its still very painful.i even have abs and im nearly 71,

  • I prefer cycling to walking, (did 148 km this week.)

    However, when The PD symptoms start rearing their head late in the day ,instead of popping a pill I try and practice a fast walk and the shuffling,leg dragging awkward gait dissapears when I stride it out! . I am always conscious of my walking and think about every step and John is right it does work.

  • Atta boy! Don't give in.

  • I find fast walking beneficial to overall health which impacts on my parkinsons symptoms...I will watch the you tube video ...I find videos are the best way for me to absorb information...thanks John

  • How many of my videos have you seen?

  • I saw the one with you walking on promenade and have read the book just think it would be great if you did a fast walk in slow motion 😀Good work thanks John

  • It's a good idea. I will speak to the film studio

  • Hi John you both look great

  • Thanks! Its not the looks that count its the inner strength that gets us there.

  • do you remember me I met you in Emeryville CA

  • Pole walking as physical therapy helps with the gait and arm swing.

  • Thanks! I will circulate this to all my contacts

  • Hi John you both look great

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