Wheelchair Users: Staying Fit When You have a Spinal Cord Injury

According to the Veterans Department it is estimated that almost 300,000 people in the U.S have some kind of injury to the spinal cord. Most of these injuries occur with people who are in the age range of 16 to 30, individuals who still have a whole lifetime before them.

You shouldn’t let your spinal cord injury lead you to a sedentary lifestyle. You should aim to keep active, in good shape and healthy. By doing exercises you will reap the many benefits it provides. For those who exercise they usually have:

  • Better muscle mass power and endurance
  • Increased blood flow and breathing
  • A reduced threat of getting diabetes , a lot less unwanted body fat and greater self confidence
  • Enhanced immune-system performance

Staying Fit When You have a Spinal Cord Injury

Reducing the Chance of Illness

Exercising also reduces the chances of getting secondary ailments like urinary tract infections or pressure sores.

Always consult your physician or physical therapist before beginning an exercise program. They can help you select a fitness program and nutrition plan that meets your specific requirements. Once it is ok with your doctor, your exercise program should include stretching, cardio workout as well as muscle development. The routing would have to be fine-tuned for your specific situation.

Specific Exercises for Specific Injuries

For injuries that happened in C1 to C4, breathing exercises as well as neck and shoulder exercise would be very beneficial. Exercise with elastic bands would be beneficial to those who have injuries to C4 and C5. People who have injuries from C6 to C8 might still be able to use equipment at the gym.

It is important to set personal goals to help you develop a sense of purpose and keep you motivated. Check your local area to see what kinds of physical activities are in place for people with spinal cord injuries.

Finding a Local Association

A good place to start is with your local disabled sport associations, spinal cord injury associations or even recreational centers. Some places even have activities like jet skiing, kayaking, fishing etc.

Because you have a spinal cord injury, it doesn’t mean you have to live a boring life. Contact your local medical equipment retailer to see the kinds of mobility equipment available that will help you to lead an active lifestyle.

 

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