Our collection of headlines from various sources dealing with fitness solutions for person with disabilities. This material is presented for information purposes only. Everyone should check with their personal health professionals if they discover a fitness regimen they want to try.

Fitness Is Key For The Disabled

From Reuters.com

Mon, Mar 1 2010

By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - When Jothy Rosenberg was told after losing a leg and part of a lung to cancer that he would not survive, the teenager went to Utah and skied for 100 days straight.

It was followed by swimming, white water rafting, water skiing, and biking.

Now 36 years later, Rosenberg who is healthy and thriving, has founded six start-up tech companies, earned a PhD and become a grandfather.

"Being told I had zero chance of survival created a chip on my shoulder," said Rosenberg, whose new book, "Who Says I Can't," chronicles how he used endurance athletics to build self-esteem, resilience and strength.

"Fitness was crucial," said Rosenberg, an above-the-knee amputee. "I discovered if I focused harder than my able-bodied compatriots, then I could get good as them."

"Self confidence is sort of like trust. It takes a huge amount of work to build up and almost nothing to tear down. Cancer will do it to you, disability will certainly do it to you," he said.

"Once you start building it back, you've got a base to build more."

Rosenberg said he never fails to keep up with his workout. He swims about five miles a week, goes to a spin class twice a week and also enjoys cycling.

For the last 17 years he has swum from Alcatraz to San Francisco to raise money for charity, and he works with the non-profit AccessSportAmerica to bring high challenge sports to the disabled.

Rosenberg said he never fails to keep up with his workout. He swims about five miles a week, goes to a spin class twice a week and also enjoys cycling.

For the last 17 years he has swum from Alcatraz to San Francisco to raise money for charity, and he works with the non-profit AccessSportAmerica to bring high challenge sports to the disabled.

"These are people that can't walk but if you help them they can play modified soccer in a gym, or row in the water with modified boats," he said.

Some 32.5 million people in the United States are living with severe disabilities, according to the Census Bureau. They represent 12 percent of the population.

@Reuters.com: read the rest of the article on fitness for the disabled

New Fitness Center For Deaf-Blind Persons

From al.com

February 20, 2010

MOBILE, Ala. -- At first glance, the room with women exercising on stationary bikes and treadmills looks like any gym around Mobile. The new fitness center, designed especially for deaf and blind adults, is located in the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind at 1050 Government St.

“We are excited about it,” said Michelle Jones, AIDB regional director. “We feel it will certainly benefit the ‘whole person’ approach. Our whole philosophy is for people who are vision impaired and hearing impaired to have the quality of life we all enjoy.”

Patrice Hall, case manager for the blind and visually impaired at the facility, recognized the need for a fitness center in their building as she has worked to make a place where her clients feel comfortable and familiar.

Hall cited the case of Barbara Manuel, who is blind due to retinitis pigmentosa. “She works and rides public transportation and she is very confident.” Many times, Manuel had expressed a desire for a place to work out, Hall said.

Once a blind person decides to be active and gain independence, “there is still a lot of fear and a lot of challenges they have to overcome,” Hall noted. Transportation is always an issue, she said. Some have family members who help, but others rely on city transportation.

“There is still that fear once you get where you are going if it’s unfamiliar and unknown territory,” Hall said. “What we have always tried to do is figure out programs in this building that will at least get them out and get them active and socializing, doing things that benefit them.”

The school partners with Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, which holds training classes for clients on independent living several times a week.

For details about the fitness center or to donate equipment, call Patrice Hall at 251-432-7777. To learn more about AIDB and its services, visit www.aidb.org.

Best Exercises For The Wheelchair Bound

From Content For Reprint By Helen Hecker

If you spend long hours in a wheelchair you know it can lead to uneasiness and be very uncomfortable, which is true for anyone who is disabled. Keeping the body moving as much as possible in your wheelchair should be a regular part of your daily fitness program. This should be a priority no matter what your disability. Doing regular wheelchair exercise will help you increase your strength, flexibility, improve your mobility, strengthen your heart and lungs, and help you control your weight.

When starting or ending any workout or exercise session, it's important to take ten minutes to warm up, stretch a little but without hurting yourself and then cool down for about ten minutes. When you work out with weights you want to start slowly and gradually work up to more weight. Start with simple exercises as outlined below and then move on to some of the more difficult exercises.

Your upper body workout should include exercises that include both arms, the torso, neck, and the shoulders. However, depending on the nature of the disability, everyone's situation is different so make sure to consult with your doctor. Let the doctor know what exercises you plan to do and get his/her okay and which of the exercises are best for you and which should be avoided

Now for your fitness workout there are two types of wheelchair exercise that you'll want to use for your workout - and those are resistance training and strength training.

Resistance training: Resistance training uses large, stretchy rubber bands that are called resistance bands. Take the bands and wrap them securely around a stable object such as a door, or the arm of your wheelchair. Pull the bands towards you and then the other way away from you to give your muscles a good workout. Rubber bands can be used for pull-downs, shoulder rotations and arm and leg extensions.

Strength training: Strength training uses the lifting of 'free weights' or dumbbells. If you don't have 'free weights' or dumbbells try to find some cans of food that fit nicely in your hands. Or you might be able to find something better. Whatever you choose have it weighed. You want to start with one or two pound weights and gradually work up. Do three sets of 12 repetitions for each exercise resting between each set.

You can use TV time to lift your weights if you aren't motivated to set up a daily routine. Combine exercise with some of your favorite television shows.

Some of the benefits you'll achieve through strength training include the ability to better perform daily activities such as pushing your wheelchair, holding or carrying items and transferring in and out of your wheelchair. Disabled people or wheelchair users often have what is called an inefficient 'push'. You can easily work these muscles. By just spending a few minutes every day building up and strengthening your muscles you'll find it much easier, regardless of your disability, to do many tasks that you have difficulty with now.

If you have difficulty applying the above exercises resistance training or strength training due to your disability or for some other reason or for an added benefit get a DVD that will help you keep fit while you sit and offer exercises from a sitting position.

Always maintain a positive attitude about your workout and while you're working out. Try to get into a good regular wheelchair exercise and fitness program that you've designed for yourself regardless of your disability. If you can move something you can exercise.

Set realistic goals and reward yourself for working out. Don't do anything you know you shouldn't. Start slowly. Keep your eye on the end result. A simple but the best wheelchair exercise and fitness program can improve your overall health, boost your immune system, get blood flowing to the brain preventing brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's and increase mobility for you. And encourage others who are disabled to exercise along with you whenever you get together for an added boost.

About the Author

For more information on wheelchair exercise and travel tips for people with disabilities, go to a nurse's website http://www.AllAboutDisabledTravel.com specializing in travel, wheelchairs, exercise, sports and more with tips, help, advice and resources including info on wheelchair exercise DVD

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Making Fitness Centers Accessible

From VortexFitnessBlog

ALTHOUGH Libby Gratton lost her vision two decades ago, she never wanted that to hinder her ability to stay fit. But at five health clubs she visited, she was told she would have to hire a personal trainer to guide her around the equipment. Ms. Gratton couldn’t afford a trainer, so except for an occasional walk with her husband she didn’t work out. “I was discouraged but I understood they had a bottom line to worry about,”she said. “I’m not one to make waves.”

Then about a year ago, Ms. Gratton found Contours Express in Leesburg, Fla., a branch of an international chain of women only gyms, where Betty Aramino, the owner, offered to coach her for no extra fee. Today Ms. Aramino helps Ms. Gratton, 63, getting on and off weight machines and describes how to do calisthenics.  Occasionally Ms. Aramino accompanies her to aerobics classes, guiding her arms.

Ms. Aramino had never assisted a blind person before but she knew that without her help her new customer would find it impossible to use the gym.  Health clubs are among the last public places in the United States to become broadly accessible to the physically disabled, say advocates for people who are blind, in wheelchairs.

Some clubs lack the ramps and wide doors that they are required to provide — like schools, restaurants, theaters and office buildings — under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.  But even when health clubs have such basic accommodations, the disabled are often shut out because getting through the door is only the beginning. The exercise equipment must be accessible, too.  

Disabled exercisers face major hurdles at most gyms, according to a survey in November in The American Journal of Public Health, which looked at 16 for profit and 19 nonprofit health clubs and concluded that all had significant problems. Some had obstacles that prevented disabled members from reaching parts of the club, a violation of the disabilities act. Others lacked equipment that could be used by people with disabilities or staff members who were willing to help such members.

“It’s hard enough to live with any kind of disability — to get up, get dressed, go to work — why do we have to make recreation and fitness more difficult?” asked the study’s author, James H. Rimmer, the director of the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability at the University of Illinois, Chicago. But getting fit might soon become easier for the 49.7 million Americans who a 2000Census Bureau estimate said are blind, in wheelchairs or otherwise physically or mentally impaired. New equipment is being designed for them. A handful of new gyms are going out of their way to assist them with wheelchair accessible equipment.

The 26,830 health clubs in the country may soon be forced to follow suit. New federal guidelines for enforcing the 1990 disabilities act, now under review by the Department of Justice, would mandate that health clubs provide a clear floor space of at least 30 inches by 48 inches around each type of weight training equipment so people in wheelchairs can get to them.

Swimming pools, depending on their size, would be required to have a ramp or a lift capable of lowering swimmers in their wheelchairs. Still, while many advocates for the disabled praise the new recommendations as a step in the right direction, the majority of advocates say they don’t go far enough.

A Justice Department spokesman said the guidelines won’t mandate, for instance, that clubs purchase equipment with Braille, or seats that swing out. This angers some disabled people. “Someone should challenge the law,” said Andrew Houghton, 39, an advocate for disability rights.

At the same time, Mr. Houghton added, if the fitness industry made modest accommodations, it would attract new dues-paying members among the disabled. He has fashioned a recumbent bike that can be used by both disabled and able-bodied gym-goers. It’s a solution that wouldn’t cause too much financial hardship for health clubs, he said.

Mild Exercise Benefits Critically ill in Intensive Care

April 9, 2010 1:31 PM
More benefits found from mild exercise in critically ill patients - Sedation cut back so patients can exercise, which speeds recovery.

Benefits of Yoga for Children with Special Needs

March 26, 2010 2:11 PM
Stretching the Mind and Body: The Benefits of Yoga for Children with Special Needs.

Using Yoga to Relieve Back Pain
January 31, 2010 1:28 PM
Back pain is a very common occurrence for a number of people today and even with the help of pain blockers and relievers, it proves to be bothersome.

Yoga Reduces Inflammation Due to Aging and Stress

January 11, 2010 8:28 PM
Regularly practicing yoga exercises may lower a number of compounds in the blood and reduce the level of inflammation that normally rises because of both normal aging and stress, a new study has shown.

Exercise Good for Lymphoma Patients
October 28, 2009 11:57 AM
Lymphoma patients who received the exercise intervention reported significantly improved physical functioning, overall quality of life, less fatigue, increased happiness, less depression and an improvement in lean body mass.

Aerobic Exercise Helps Elasticity of Arteries and Diabetes
October 25, 2009 1:57 PM
Just three months of physical activity reaps heart health benefits for older adults with type 2 diabetes by improving the elasticity in their arteries - reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, Dr. Kenneth Madden told the 2009 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, co-hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cardiovascular Society.

Improving Mobility with Pilates
September 30, 2009 7:57 PM
Pilates can be an effective exercise method for people with MS or walking disabilities to improve their balance, leg strength and walking ability. However, before you start practicing pilates and using pilates equipment (known as a reformer), you should consider some guidelines that will help improve your pilates experience and prevent risk of injury.