Weekly Newsletter

March 20, 2024

Pathway to Progress: Walking

Happy Spring! Welcome back to our weekly newsletter. Last time we addressed WALKING in this newsletter (August 16, 2023), we started “FROM APES TO HUMAN”. No lack of respect to one of our closest animal cousins… but this took 2 million years (give or take a few).

And the point of all that discussion was to look at our human physical design that makes it EASY to walk. ENJOYABLE to walk. EFFICIENT to walk. Feel free to look back at the newsletter to appreciate how the shape of our pelvis changed; how our hip sockets changed; how our feet changed, not to mention how our shoulder’s changed so that we couldn’t really bear weight on our arms (very well, or comfortably). And that took 2 million years of evolutionary trial and error.

But what if somehow you’re starting from ground zero, today? Because you’ve been bed ridden. Or you have had a catastrophic neurological event, like a stroke or head injury...

How long does that take? Is there a road map? What are the steps — pun intended!


1.  Believe it’s possible

2. Start where you’re at.

3. Get help.

4. One step at a time

Of course you must take into account -- what caused the bed-ridden status?

How long has it been since you could walk what was normal for you?

Here’s an AMAZING story about someone who went on this journey!

Jill Bolte Taylor; and she wrote this book: “My Stroke of Insight”

Jill Bolte Taylor was a rising-star neuroscientist at Harvard when, at 37, she experienced a massive stroke that left her unable to walk, talk, read, or recall any of her life.

Here’s a link to her TED talk: My stroke of insight

The main point here… Take into account what caused the bed-ridden status?

How long has it been since you could walk what was normal for you?

What are the impediments, specifically?

  • Pain?
  • Weakness?
  • Neurological impairment — example stroke, head injury, MS?

Some of this process of getting back on your feet is intuitive. Logical. But still, almost beyond imagination that one could have to start over, learning to stand and walk.

Here are some examples of how the steps might go…

  1.  Moving in bed: A safe, logical place to start. Rolling, moving and lifting arms and legs.
  2. Sitting up in bed. Tolerating sitting up (if you have been laying down for a length of time. Might take time.
  3. Sitting up at the edge of the bed. Take balance. Take orientation to an upright position.  
  4. Dynamic sitting at edge of bed: Reaching, leaning.
  5. Scooting up and down the bed: to the right (up to the head of bed, perhaps) to the left, toward the bottom of the bed.
  6. The next big move — standing up: Using a hospital bed (if you have one), standing up from the bed set at a high position. Gradually lowering the bed to stand up from a lower surface. This is a very important strengthening and endurance exercise. Repeated sit to stand.

From standing to walking:

  • Takes time… To build strength, balance and endurance. Not to mention confidence.  
  • Tools: using assistive devices and gradually weaning…
  • Walker, crutches, cane, etc.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

This is not something (most likely) that can be done all alone:

  • IF YOU SHOULD FACE THIS CIRCUMSTANCE — There is a way forward.
  • IF YOUR LOVED ONE FACES THIS CIRCUMSTANCE — May this information help you be part of their way forward…

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elders and family caregivers who selflessly support them.


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