Playing Helps to Calm a Blustery Day with Parkinson’s

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

by Sherri Woodbridge |

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Fall is rapidly passing by, and with it goes your last opportunity to fly a kite. Even though April is National Kite Flying Month, I have always thought the blustery days of fall were the best time of year for kite flying.

I love blustery days, when the wind whistles through the trees and leaves are blown every which way. Taking a walk through the park with my grandkids in tow and stopping to jump in a pile of rich autumn color brings out the child in me, and I feel a longing to revisit my younger days.

We know we can’t go back, but going forward doesn’t have to mean succumbing to old age just because we’ve been selected to play in the Parkinson’s band. The child in us should be let loose to play as it once was: wild and free, laughing and giggling, dancing and singing. 

Laughter does a body good

You’ve heard it said that laughter is the best medicine. Where you hear laughter, you’ll most likely find someone playing or jesting with another person. There are many ways to play, and no reason not to.

Although Halloween is my least favorite holiday because it’s so creepy, I admit that I got a kick out of our 65-year-old neighbor who used to go trick-or-treating each year as SpongeBob SquarePants.

I always laughed when I answered the doorbell and found him standing there with his pillowcase half full of candy. After getting his treat, he would walk to the next house in his royal blue tights. I think he got more treats than the kids did.

To quote George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

The next time your grandkids (or kids) are with you, don’t fill the time with channel surfing or watch their backs as they play video games. Instead, get out a game or a puzzle and do it together. On a rainy day, play ball in the house using balloons or have a fluff war using large pompoms, hiding behind couches and chairs or tables turned on their sides.

While I was visiting my son, he and his family played games of basketball and baseball. I mainly watched, but I wish I could have bottled their infectious laughter — that stuff that’s like medicine to a weary spirit — and brought it home with me.

Play can be creative

You can also play creatively. You don’t have to be an artist to draw or paint. There are hundreds of YouTube videos that show how to create beautiful pictures step by step. Some of my favorites are about pour painting. You pour different colors of paint into a cup, turn the cup upside down on a canvas, let the paint spread out (with a little coaxing), and voila! You’ve made an original artwork.

The opposite of a blustery day is a calm day, but sometimes it’s hard to feel calm when you’re living with a disease that can constantly have you shaking on the inside as well as the outside. That’s when it’s time to put on your windbreaker, head outside with your kite, and watch the song from “Mary Poppins” come alive:

When you send it flyin’ up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over ‘ouses and trees
With your fist ‘olding tight
To the string of your kite


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Mitzi avatar


Love this, Sherri. I'm 84 and have right-hand tremor, balance and other problems but not diagnosed PD. Wish I could jump in a pile of leaves. Bless you.

Sherri Woodbridge avatar

Sherri Woodbridge

Mitzi - thank you for your comment! I wish you could jump in a pile of leaves, too! Blessings in return. -sherri

Laurie avatar


Hi Sherri, I love your posts! I was diagnosed with Parkinson's a year and a half ago at age 51. I found your column shortly thereafter & have been following ever since. I love your positivity & the way you write so heartfelt & genuine. I look forward to your posts. Thank you for sharing your stories.


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