Most people know about the huge benefits of exercise to our health and to prevent many major illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Developing a good exercise routine can be challenging for a victim of a slip and fall or car accident who has suffered a spinal cord injury that causes chronic pain and limitations in his day-to-day activities. However, an exercise program designed with the assistance of a doctor or physical therapist can be extremely beneficial to his overall health and quality of life.
The Benefits of Exercise for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
After a spinal cord injury has been stabilized, a wellness routine that includes regular exercise can help a person suffering from a spinal cord injury stay well and maintain his functional abilities as much as possible. Some of the benefits he could experience include:
- Improved breathing
- Better management of chronic pain
- Increased muscle strength and flexibility
- Better circulation
- Management of weight and body composition
- Improved self-esteem and self-confidence
- Reduction in depression and anxiety
- Increased independence
- Improved immune system
- Fewer problems with constipation
- Fewer problems with secondary conditions like urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, and respiratory infections
Why Spinal Cord Injuries Make Exercise More Difficult
A person could experience different challenges to exercising depending on what type of spinal cord injury he has suffered. However, accident victims could face these hurdles that make exercising harder:
Low blood pressure
Many people with spinal cord injuries will experience low blood pressure when they exercise because the blood will not travel properly up from their legs. This can cause them to feel lightheaded or nauseous. Wrapping the legs to provide support and exercising slowly at first with a gradual increase in intensity can help avoid these problems.
Temperature and heart rate
A person suffering from a spinal cord injury may find that his temperature or heart rate do not increase like they would normally when he exercises. He will need to be extra vigilant to be certain not to overdue his exercising and cause further injuries.
A good program will include aerobic exercise, muscle strengthening, and stretching. People who suffer from spinal cord injuries often need specialized classes with medical professionals to help tailor their exercises to their specific injuries and limitations. While this can be costly, the benefits to their overall health and quality of life must outweigh financial concerns.
4 Components Your Exercise Program Should Include
You may need a physical therapist or a qualified trainer who can design an exercise program that takes into account your injuries and limitations in movement. Key components of your routine should include the following:
Aerobic exercise has many benefits including improving your endurance, cardiovascular (heart) health, and emotional well-being. There are a variety of possible exercises that can meet most people’s physical limitations, with walking, cycling, chair exercises, and wheelchair pushing being a few.
Working with weights, bands, and exercise machines can help strengthen your muscles—including ones associated with your spinal cord injury.
Stretching exercises are vital to remaining flexible, which could help with your posture, balance, and day-to-day activities like dressing.
Depending on the extent of your spinal cord injuries, you could suffer from respiratory problems and have difficulty breathing. A pulmonary therapist can show you exercises that could improve your lung capacity.
How to Stay Motivated
Like most people, you may be enthused at the beginning of your exercise program but then lose motivation. Follow these tips to stick to your routine:
- Make a schedule of when you will exercise and keep it.
- As your endurance and strength improve, think of ways to add five or ten more minutes of exercise into your routine.
- Pick activities that you enjoy doing.
- Track your progress in both maintaining your exercise schedule and in how it is benefiting you.
- Set realistic goals and reward yourself when you meet them.
- Identify resources that can help you design a good exercise program and support you in your efforts.
Have You Been Injured In A Henderson Or Las Vegas Accident?
If you've been injured in an accident you need to speak with an personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule a free initial consultation.