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Thread: Aerobic exercise for paraplegic?

  1. #1

    Aerobic exercise for paraplegic?

    I'm way way out of shape, and I know I need to do something to get my hear rate up, but I don't seem to have any reasonable options. Maybe my brain has just rotted too long from lack of exercise and being busy at work. Maybe some of you will be nice enough to give me some ideas.

    My situation: mid 30s, T8 complete ten years post, around 6' and 140 pounds, I get around pretty good (live alone, drive, work 50-60 hours a week).

    I have a handcycle (since I imagine that's what most people will think of first), unfortunately I can't ride it (it's a bit complicated, but I've got heterotopic ossification in my right hip that prevents me from straightening my leg enough to avoid getting hit by the cranks when turning right. I thought about rigging it up inside on a trainer, but unfortunately I just don't have enough floor space in my studio apartment for that.

    With regard to pushing my everyday chair, that doesn't seem like a brilliant idea to me. I feel like my muscles get fatigued (shoulders, triceps) before my heart rate gets anywhere near where I need it to be. So it feels like I'm doing more damage to my shoulders than it's worth for the minimal benefit I might be getting. THat being said, I'm open to it, I live in a downtown area and there's a little greenway literally half a block from my front door. Does anyone feel like they actually get a reasonable workout just from pushing the chair?

    Also open to any other ideas you fine folks might have for me. thanks.

  2. #2
    Another thing is swimming. I used to be a big swimmer, preSCI. I even used to teach swimming. I tried it a couple times post injury, but it was a big ordeal and a pain in the ass, and I didn't stick with it long enough to figure out how to adapt my swimming. I just sort of gave up because when I tried to swim the front crawl or backstroke it was incredibly inferior to when I used to swim with all four limbs.

  3. #3
    Nevermind, I think I just needed to write this out to think through it myself. There's no rational reason why I can't go swimming. Sure I'll look like an idiot and "know I'm doing it wrong", but ultimately that doesn't really matter.

    I'll take my lazy ass to the local county pool tomorrow and check it out, see if they've got a pool lift and a wheelchair accessible shower and start to sort out my equipment... I think I've got a bathing suit somewhere.

  4. #4
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    I use an EasyStand glider.
    T3-T7 complete since Sept 2015

  5. #5
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
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    Aerobic is a tough one without nice big leg muscles to demand oxygenated blood output from the heart and lungs. I gave up on any sort of aerobic stuff, my arm muscles tell me they are annoyed enough with some of the stuff I do, and I'm not going to tax them any further. Perhaps coke or X will get the metabolism going? Semi-seriously! lol

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy View Post
    Aerobic is a tough one without nice big leg muscles to demand oxygenated blood output from the heart and lungs. I gave up on any sort of aerobic stuff, my arm muscles tell me they are annoyed enough with some of the stuff I do, and I'm not going to tax them any further. Perhaps coke or X will get the metabolism going? Semi-seriously! lol
    I know right. Maybe not the drugs, but I feel like the only time my heart rate gets up is when I'm chatting with a pretty woman or somebody pisses me off in traffic.

  7. #7
    That being said, I don't think I'm giving up on aerobic exercise just yet. Thanks for the suggestion of the EasyStand, Mize, but I don't have the money or square footage for one of those contraptions at the moment.

    I'm going to look into swimming more. Gonna make another thread to try and get the attention of people who might do it themselves.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Andy's Avatar
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    Get a stander at any rate, really takes care of stretching out the feet and calves for a more normal non-drop-footed anatomy if you angle the foot plates uphill. Just takes a minute or 3 a day, like when pulling your jeans up normal-like, to do the job.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    I use a Vitaglide machine. I only use a 'pull' stroke to balance out the push stroke of everyday wheeling.
    A Buddhist monk walked up to the guy working behind a hot dog cart and said, "Make me one with everything."

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus

  10. #10
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    Actually swimming would be ideal, I just don't know where I'd do it and then there's that fear of the oh-so-remote possibility of fouling the water. Gotta love SCI.

    The biggest problem with the glider is the wear on wrists and fingers from regular use. I've had to go from 5-6 hours per week down to about 3 to reduce the arthritis-like pain.

    Going from competitive cycling with annual mileage around 10,000 to 3 hours of low heart rate glider really sucks.
    T3-T7 complete since Sept 2015

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