ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than 17,000 people in the U.S. suffer a spinal cord injury every year and spinal cord injuries are one of the leading causes of paralysis. Those who require a wheelchair for the rest of their lives may find getting regular physical fitness can be a challenge. But as Ivanhoe reports, new technology is helping them break a sweat with adaptive gym equipment.
Whether it’s surfing, dancing, or working out, Amanda Perla loves to live a fast-paced lifestyle.
“I was always a very adventurous, active person,” shared Perla.
But during her senior year of high school, a car accident brought a screeching halt to her active lifestyle.
“I was told that I had broken my neck and suffered a spinal cord injury and that I was gonna be quadriplegic and in a wheelchair for the rest of my life,” Perla continued.
“There’s plenty of secondary complications that can occur just from being seated in a wheelchair for a long period of time. A lot of pain, pressure sores, lack of blood circulation in individuals’ bodies. All these things can diminish life expectancy,” explained Travis Allen, Senior Activity-Based Trainer with NextStep Orlando.
So physical fitness is important. But not many gyms are equipped for people in wheelchairs. That’s why Perla and her mother decided to launch NextStep Orlando. It’s part of a network of rehab facilities around the country specializing in the fitness needs of those with paralysis. Using adaptive gym equipment, such as the VitaGlide, paralysis is not a hindrance to staying active.
“We’re trying to push those boundaries,” said Allen.
The machines allow wheelchair users to adopt an exercise routine that can build up strength to transfer in and out of the wheelchair to bathe and get in and out of the car. They also allow users to do what they thought they could never do again.
“Just to look in the mirror and see yourself walking again is huge. Human beings aren’t meant to be sitting all day. We’re meant to be upright. We’re meant to be moving,” stated Perla.
Besides spinal cord injuries, the facilities also help those recovering from other neurological conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, and cerebral palsy.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.
REPORT #2904ADAPTIVE GYM EQUIPMENT: REHABBING WORKOUTS
BACKGROUND: The spinal cord is a group of nerves that runs down the middle of the back and carries signals between the body and the brain. A spinal cord injury disturbs these signals causing complications. They usually begin with a blow that fractures, dislocates, or breaks the vertebrae. Most injuries don’t cut through the spinal cord, rather cause damage when pieces of vertebrae tear into cord tissue or press down on the nerve parts that carry signals. With a complete spinal cord injury, the cord can’t send signals below the level of the injury resulting in being paralyzed below the injury. With an incomplete injury, you have some movement and sensation below the injury. Treatments can include medicines, braces, or traction to stabilize the spine, and surgery. Later treatment includes medicines, rehabilitation therapy, and even mobility aids and assistive devices that may help you get around and do daily tasks.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DISABILITIES: Adults with disabilities are more likely to have obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. Many adults with disabilities and chronic health conditions can participate in regular physical activity; however, it’s important to consult with a physical therapist or personal trainer first to understand how the disability or health condition affects the ability to safely do physical activity. The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors uses an Inclusive Healthy Communities Model to promote disability inclusion strategies and make healthy living easier for all people. Through policy, systems, and environmental changes, this model focuses on increasing access to healthy living opportunities like healthy eating; physical activity; general accessibility improvements; and
tobacco use prevention or cessation.
ADAPTIVE FITNESS CENTERS AND GYMS: Adapted fitness is training for people with both temporary and permanent disabilities, adapted to the needs of the individual. It can be used for weight management, stress management, healthier lifestyle choices, and more. The programs are centered around each person’s goals, whether it be weight management goals or athletic goals. In addition to physical training, adapted fitness also serves as a tool to help clients define their sense of self and confidence. This adapted approach will have different results for everybody, however, there are some medical benefits. A few of the biggest benefits are in pain reduction, functional strength development, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and mobility. Other possible benefits are improved blood circulation, digestion, bone density, muscle strength, core strength, cardio strength, and reduced muscle atrophy and spasticity.
* For More Information, Contact:
Joanna Palmer, Public Relations
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