Irony of Spinal Cord Injury and Fitness #fitfam


Yesterday, I tweeted When recovering from spinal cord injury, every day is leg day, and core day, and arm day and ____ day. #fitfam whatever your day, be great

I follow, and have quite a few followers who are fitness oriented.  Certain days are designated for certain types of workouts. These days are called, "Leg Day," "Chest Day," etc.   And this is generally done to maintain the fitness of these areas.  I'm also sure the exercises for these days are customized to the needs of that area - whether these areas only need maintenance, or some extra work. 

For those of us who have regained some mobility and strength, it's important to do work on all areas each day, but go through weeks/months with the emphasis on a particular area.  For many people, including me, that would be the legs - but depending on my situation, exercises were changed to emphasize different parts of the leg.

And I walk - I try to walk at least 10 blocks each day, sometimes two miles or more. I have noticed that when I don't go out for a walk for a couple of days, my muscles stiffen and I cannot walk as well as long.  

Here's where my tweet comes in.  As much as I can on a daily basis (and sometimes the muscles just need to rest, but something everyday - doesn't have to be excruciating every day) - not only do I work on my legs, but I also work on my core and arms.  I work with a kettlebell and plank each day - in addition to my walks.

I was working with a kettlebell even while in a wheelchair, and at the hospital, my occupational therapist always had me on weight training exercises.  This is because the stronger the upper body is, the less pressure it puts on the legs.  Also, once I was walking quite competently, my balance was still suffering. This is when a physical therapist had me start planking to strengthen my core.  I'm convinced that planking has helped me regain my balance tremendously, but being above the legs, I'm convinced that it has also helped me with my walking by placing even less pressure on the legs to do the work. 

Spinal cord injury also wrecks havoc on bowel functions.  I'm very fortunate that my bowel functions returned enough that I no longer need to be on a bowel maintenance program/routine.  However, this is also due to a change in diet.  I consume much more fiber now than before I got sick.  So, I am eating healthier now than before I got sick. 

I still have mobility issues - my legs are stiff; I still have occassional spinal cord related bowel issues; I still can't run "full speed" for more than the distance to cross a street.

What's the irony?  I think I am more fit now than before I got sick.  I wasn't out of shape before, but now, I eat better, and have more targeted workouts.  And when I was in the hospital, I lost over 20 pounds.  I've gained about 7 pounds back, but an increase in waist size has not accompanied the pounds back. So the weight gain is probably due to muscle gain. 

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