I just celebrated my 27th year since becoming disabled. Yes, celebrated! The alternative would have been being buried six feet under had my girlfriend at the time didn’t save me from certain death immediately following my accident.
More to the point. I have volunteered as an SCI peer supporter at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for the past 10+ years and have seen several hundred new SCI cases go through the SCI rehab unit. The most asked question has always involved how to exercise if you don’t have the financial means, insurance coverage, physical ability or time.
Here’s what I do. I’m a C-6 Complete ASIA A injury. I possess above average upper extremities strength and flexibility. I work full-time and volunteer here and there, do fun stuff with friends and family members and don’t really have much time for out-patient physical therapy or any gyms. Instead, this is my routine:
Nintendo Wii – I use three games for different purposes. First, there’s a tennis game which requires the use of my arms and shoulders while playing it, so allows me to maintain flexibility. Next, I play the boxing game. It’s very fast-paced because the objective is to knock out your opponent (before you get knocked out) and in order to do so, I need to constantly punch my opponent for three minutes per round for three rounds. This game takes care of my cardio requirements as it gets my heart rate racing very quickly. Finally, if time permitting, I play a little relaxing golf game. It’s a little bit of mind and body game.
Standing frame – I have one at home which I use to stand 3-4 times a week. I usually have a friend or family member help me get into it and I do that for about 30 minutes each time. I put my laptop on it, too, so that I can get some work done as well.
Finally, during summer time, I swim a bit. I put on these float bands on each arm and put on my socks (to avoid scraping my feet against the wall or hard surface). The float bands keep me afloat and I can then swim normally. I do this at a family member’s home with a pool.
So, as you can see, I don’t spend a dime on any gyms or physical therapy and get enough exercise to maintain the integrity of my body around my schedule. Share your activities and ideas by commenting on this post.
NOTE: The author of this post, Franklin Elieh, is a PNP blogger.