When I was in in-patient rehab, I was taught the importance of a daily stretch routine. Once home, with the help of my mom, I continued to do stretches every morning. Then a few months later, I started dressing myself. I was doing quite a bit of stretching in the process and no longer felt I needed the morning stretch routine – nor did I have the time. Just every day activities can be a workout depending how much you “stretch” yourself to accomplish your goals to be as independent as possible.
I do a lot of driving and have a transfer seat in my van. I used to have a van where I drove from my power chair. It was a hard decision choosing to put a transfer seat into the newer van that I purchased. But I chose it so my friends could drive it as well. It definitely is a workout transferring back and forth at my level of function (C-6) as well as the other daily self transferring I do. Now that I no longer need to use my power chair to drive, I am in my manual chair most of the time. I got a smart drive to be able to tackle difficult inclines or when I have to go long distances but I now get a lot more exercise pushing my manual chair throughout the day.
Since I work full time, it is hard to get to a gym regularly where there are trainers who know how to work with people who have a SCI. Plus there is the cost factor. But I do try to incorporate into my weekly exercise routine going to the gym once a week. I also take full advantage of the physical therapy visits that my insurance covers. My goal though is to slowly create a workout gym in my home. I already have a couple of pieces of equipment; a handcycle, therabands, and weights. Plus, I was able to purchase a hand bike with the help of a grant.
Before my injury, I was involved in lots of sports. Thankfully, we have a non-profit organization here where I can participate in lots of adaptive sports and recreational activities. Usually I am involved in one or two sports at nights during the week or on the weekend. It’s lots of fun and I enjoy being with other people as well.
Recently, my sister, niece, and nephew came to visit from Alabama. They stayed a few nights with my mom and me during their trip. Outdoor activities were out of the question though as it was so hot outside. One of the days we decided to go bowling but once there - we never got past the game area. Air hockey was fun and a challenge but my 11 year old nephew’s skills were much better than mine. We all played Skee-Ball several times as well and I got the highest score. The guy without hand function won!
I know some people don’t like to exercise and workout but I love it. So in spite of my busy schedule, I try to find different and fun ways to stay in shape. Exercise is important for everyone but when you have a SCI - it is even more important because you need to keep your functioning muscles as strong as possible. Being able to workout and be involved in sports has really helped me stay in a positive frame of mind. Don’t let an illness or injury keep you from staying in shape and having fun. Be creative. Find new interests. Enjoy your life to the fullest!
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The opinions and experiences presented herein are for informational use only. Individual results may vary depending on your condition. Always consult with your health care professional. This individual has been compensated by Bard Medical for the time and effort in preparing this article for BARD’s further use and distribution. BMD/BMDA/0817/0521