"Exercise is an activity that will help your bones maintain strength. This is because exercise puts weight or resistance to the long bones of the body. Ways for individuals to exercise include stretching, range of motion, standing in a standing frame, activity based exercises and vibration. Repetitive movement along with some resistance will improve bone density." Christopher Reeve.org Ask Nurse Linda
There are many reasons for you to keep your body moving despite your injury. The body is not meant to be idle. Exercise helps intestinal digestion, promotes strength in bones, builds muscle (functional electrical stimulation), relieves pressure, builds lung strength, improves blood flow and circulation and a host of other benefits.
Exercise does not mean you have to attend an aggressive therapy program, however the more YOU put into your workout, the more you can expect to get out of it. Recovery is possible and documented and some of those who are intent on their routines are not only seeing success in walking again but are also more active and leading healthier lives.
If you cannot afford a specialized therapy center program, ask friends and family for referrals for a conscientious Personal Trainer who has knowledge of neurological recovery and experience working with stroke or trauma patients. A personal trainer that you can work one on one with on a regular basis is more likely to know your personal goals and how to achieve them. He/She will know your limits and will have a plan for success. You should feel confident with the person you train with in regards to your safety, routine, knowledge of your condition and the possibilities for your recovery. Most personal trainers are less than half the cost of facility centers, including the non profit facilities which may still charge double or triple the cost of a one on one trainer. Your trainer should give you a full hour of attention. They are not there to ask about your social life or engage in small talk...they are there to help you focus and concentrate on re-training your body and mind to connect. Visualizing the movements and thinking about the muscles needed to make it happen. You should be a team, in sync and on the same page in order to be able to attain your goals.
If you cannot afford any type of trainer, there are several items you can buy for a personal home gym or therapy room. There are many organizations out there that will help sponsor items needed and you can quickly stock a room that you can work out in on your own with therapy balls, bands, resistance, hand weights, occupational therapy tools, vibration and home electrical stim units which can be applied to abs, forearms, and feet to help keep muscles toned.
Motivation is the key! As with able bodied individuals also, exercising is a choice that you must make to commit to. For the spinal cord injured, it is more than exercise, it is critical for better health. For help in finding an activity based exercise facility in your area, visit our Rehabilitation page.