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Thread: Moving the arms to activate the legs

  1. #1

    Moving the arms to activate the legs

    Here is the abstract and link to a article I found very interesting concerning rehabilitation methods. I think the article makes it clear that the current standard of practice concerning gait training and recovery in general need to be revisited.

    Moving the arms to activate the legs.

    * Ferris DP,
    * Huang HJ,
    * Kao PC.

    Department of Movement Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214, USA.

    Recent studies on neurologically intact individuals and individuals with spinal cord injury indicate that rhythmic upper limb muscle activation has an excitatory effect on lower limb muscle activation during locomotor-like tasks. This finding suggests that gait rehabilitation therapy after neurological injury should incorporate simultaneous upper limb and lower limb rhythmic exercise to take advantage of neural coupling.

    PMID: 16829738 [PubMed - in process]

    Related Links

    * Muscle activation during unilateral stepping occurs in the nonstepping limb of humans with clinically complete spinal cord injury. [Spinal Cord. 2004] PMID: 14713939

    * The effect of movement frequency on interlimb coupling during recumbent stepping. [Motor Control. 2005] PMID: 15995256

    * Neural coupling between upper and lower limbs during recumbent stepping. [J Appl Physiol. 2004] PMID: 15180979

    * Does unilateral pedaling activate a rhythmic locomotor pattern in the nonpedaling leg in post-stroke hemiparesis? [J Neurophysiol. 2006] PMID: 16452259

    * Effects of limb exercise after spinal cord injury on motor neuron dendrite structure. [J Comp Neurol. 2004] PMID: 15248194

  2. #2
    A good article for your physician to cite in writing a letter of medical justification for a glider vs. a passive standing frame....


  3. #3
    Couldn't agree more, wildwilly.

    Eric Harness, CSCS
    Neuro Ex, Inc
    Adaptive Performance and Neuro Recovery

  4. #4
    I didn't read it yet but the concept is true, I get better movement with my legs when I'm doing things with my arms. For example, I throw my arms up when I do pushes on the Total Gym and I get a better push.
    C5/6- Workin' on Recovery

  5. #5
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    When i'm walking with my forearm crutches in a 2 point gait, it helps me move my bad leg quite well so i believe it!
    C7/C8, T1 incomplete;

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  6. #6
    I especially found it beneficial to use one of those arm/leg bikes where you're moving your arms at the same time as the legs.

  7. #7
    When I was in Florida in 2004, we'd do overground walking with horizontal poles (see pic and video below). When starting, they would start swinging my arms with the poles, and I'd find my legs just starting to go. They would strongly emphasize arm swing on the treadmill as well.

    Link to Quicktime video

    More info about my time at the University of Florida

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