Pressing On Shares The Benefits of Staying in Shape for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

Editor’s Note: Jason Geroianni of San Antonio,Texas, is the director of Pressing On gym, which is designed and staffed specifically for individuals in wheelchairs and who have other physical limitations. Pressing On helps those with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy (CP) Stroke, Spina Bifida, Rett Syndrome, Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), Lou Gehrig’s Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS), Brown-Séquard syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Amputees and more. Part 2 of a 4-part series.

At Pressing On, we’re often asked, “How often do your members come in for training?” That answer varies depending on the individuals. Some come in as little as once a week to as often as five times a week, and our workouts usually last about 2-hours each.

The purpose of the gym is to provide exercise for any type of neurological disorder or physical disability. We specialize in doing one-on-one and two-on-one training. Just a few months ago, we opened the gym up so our members can come in on their own when they want to and work out.

Pressing On taught this member who has an SCI on the best way to safely do bicep curls.

Pressing On taught this member who has an SCI on the best way to safely do bicep curls.

We have a mix of standard gym equipment as well as specialized equipment just for our wheelchair members. Our members typically come in with their caregivers or family members, and we allow those folks to use our facility and exercise as well. They can exercise while the members exercise, but we don’t do personal training for the caregivers. Most of the caregivers however are encouraging our members and helping them get on and off the equipment.

One of the reasons we train the physically challenged is to help them make their transfers easier, safer and with less effort. When we train our members one-on-one, we have six areas on which we concentrate, including:

  • range of motion, which involves a lot of stretching to get the client warmed-up;
  • core and balance training, which involves sit-ups, bridges and back extensions to help strengthen abdominal muscle and the trunk and aid the client in being more stable in a chair and less likely to flip-over, especially when reaching for something; and
  • weight-bearing muscles related to standing, kneeling or possibly squatting, an important consideration because individuals in chairs aren’t putting any weight on their legs, which can lead to problems with bone density.

These exercises also help with circulation. We do strength training too. When a member comes in, we do an initial evaluation on each client, so that we can focus on the areas we determine can and should be strengthened.

For instance, if someone has weak triceps, we will concentrate on working on that set of muscles. We also have them working on their back muscles at the same time by possibly doing pull-ups. We even work on muscles that our members can’t use.

This member is taking on the punching bag at Pressing On gym.

This member is taking on the punching bag at Pressing On gym.

If we have a member who is a quadriplegic who can’t use his or her arms and legs, they still will go through exercises with the trainer, although the trainer does most of the work for them. We want our patients to focus and try to make the connection with that particular exercise, so they can get stronger.

One guy at Pressing On was an avid hockey player before he was injured but became paralyzed from the waist-down. His trunk was very weak when he came to Pressing On. We introduced him to a game called sled hockey. The competitors sit on sleds and use hockey sticks to move themselves around on the ice.

This guy wanted to play sled hockey, however, he had a hard time even balancing himself on the sled. Today, after working out with us at Pressing On for a couple years, his body is so strong that he can move all-over the ice and play sled hockey. He is truly phenomenal.

See Mike H. from Pressing On hit the ice with his sled hockey team:

I also had a lady who really wanted to drive, but she had a difficult time maintaining her balance. That’s where strengthening her core paid-off. After a year of training, she’s driving anywhere and everywhere she wants to go. If you see her on the road, you never will realize she’s had an injury. That exercise program really has given her the freedom and the mobility she has wanted.

Getting your muscles in condition and training your muscles with a regular exercise program definitely will give you a better quality of life and more independence as well as giving you health benefits, like improving your cardiovascular system and flexibility.

To learn more about Pressing On, please visit www.pressingontx.org.

Next: Take Your Exercise Program Home from Pressing On to Improve Your Neuro Fitness

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

About UroMed Catheters
Headquartered in Suwanee, GA [a suburb of Atlanta], UroMed is one of the nation’s leading providers of single-use catheters, urological and disposable medical supplies, including intermittent catheters, closed system catheters, condom catheters, pediatric catheters and continence care products. UroMed is nationally accredited for Medicare reimbursement and most state Medicaid plans, and partners with private health insurance providers and health plans to provide patients with single-use catheters, catheter kits and incontinence products. UroMed also has seven staffed regional offices located in Boston, MA; Columbia, SC; Jacksonville, FL; Dallas, TX; Carlsbad, CA; Knoxville, TN; Richmond, VA; and Baton Rouge, LA; enabling next-day delivery after a customer’s initial medical supply order. For more information, please visit http://www.uromed.com or call 1-800-841-1233.

2 Responses to Pressing On Shares The Benefits of Staying in Shape for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

  1. Pingback: Jason Geroianni From Pressing On Shows How You Can Be Physically Fit After An Injury or Disability « UroMed Catheter Health Blog

  2. Pingback: Jason Geroianni From Pressing On Shows How You Can Be Physically Fit After An Injury or Disability

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