Beat the freeze

15 ways to just say no to standing still when faced with a freezing episode…

  1. If you’re in a boxing class, try counting out punches when freezing happens – either 1234 or actual punch combo numbers.
  2. Lift up your hands to the side while breathing in, then just let them drop. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
  3. 5 S method: Stop. Stand tall. Shake it off. Shift your weight. Step big.
  4. Hydrate regularly: This can help.
  5. While walking, hold onto something you can kick in front of you when freezing starts.
  6. Find ways to practice bigger steps every day: Run/walk with high knees, skip, or swing your arms to the sky.
  7. Shift your weight side to side.
  8. Use a prop to distract yourself. One option: Dribble a basketball.
  9. Tap your limbs that are freezing.
  10. Carry a laser pointer in your pocket. When you freeze, shine the laser in front of your foot and step on the light. This cue can help you restart.
  11. Follow the beats of a metronome: There are metronome apps for your phone, so you never need to be without one.
  12. Call out 123go to see if this helps you get moving. Not only can this help with freezing, but also hypophonia.
  13. Move your arms first, don’t worry about your legs.
  14. Walking with a friend, family or caregiver? Have them put their foot sideways in front of yours so that you can step over.
  15. Have someone snap a finger in front of you.

You’ll notice that a number of the tips focus on distracting oneself from the problem at hand by doing one thing at a time. This is because multitasking can contribute to the problem.

Also, did you know this? Sometimes freezing happens when you’re due for your next dose of dopaminergic medications like Sinemet a.k.a. carbidopa/levodopa. This is called “off” freezing. Usually, the freezing episodes lessen after taking the medicine.

Originally published on, March 2, 2017.

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