Make the effort even if its hard
The health benefits of even small amounts of exercise are well documented. From your body’s point of view it does not matter what sort of exercise you do as long as you get your heart and breathing rate up for 10-15 minutes. A handy good thing about being a quad is that it doesn’t take much time or effort to get our heart and breathing rate up. This is because we have few muscles, and low lung capacity. This means you can give yourself a workout fairly quickly and without much space or equipment.
I was a bit of an athlete before my accident so I enjoy the process of exercising until I am exhausted, and keeping on going until I can’t go anymore. Conversely I don’t enjoy getting fat. As a result I have always tried to do a lot of pushing. For many years I tried to ensure that I went out and exhausted myself by pushing a long distance or up a lot of hills at least twice a week, preferably three times. Mostly I just did this by incorporating it in to my routine, either pushing to or from work, or to some other place I went to regularly, such as the pub.
I believe this was probably about the most important thing I did to maintain my independence. It kept my weight down which meant I had good power to weight ratio for pushing and transferring, and kept my health good so I didn’t suffer things like pressure sores.
Lately I have done less pushing and I am already starting to put on weight for the first time. Not much yet, but even so I think it may already be affecting my power to weight ratio.
Exercise is definitely one of those things that gets you into either a virtuous or vicious cycle. That is, the more you do the easier it gets to do more, but conversely the less you do the harder it becomes to do any.
It can also seem like it is very circumstance dependent. If I am away somewhere that has nowhere to push then I complain I’m not getting any exercise because there is nowhere I can push. However, it really does not take long to get my heart and breathing rate up just by doing various arm waving type exercises in my chair.
So there are no excuses really.
Here’s what the experts say
CLICK HERE for a stack of chair based exercises diagrammed by physios
CLICK HERE for the health and wellbeing part of the D-ability site which includes links to fitness and exercise page including chair based aerobics and body building sites
CLICK HERE for a whole program of info and advice on exercise from SCI-U
CLICK HERE for a brief page on how to lose weight in a chair, which seems basic but sensible
Rule number 15 – Being disabled is not an excuse for being unfit