General Strength Training Guidelines and Safety Considerations
- Many people with spina bifida have latex allergy. If this is the case, always check beforehand to make sure that the exercise equipment is not made of latex. Equipment manufacturers such as Thera-band® offer latex-free versions of their products.
- Breathing - Breathe normally while performing the exercises. Do not hold your breath at any time. To make sure that you are not overdoing the exercise, you should be able to maintain a normal conversation throughout. If you are exercising alone, it is best to count out loud while doing the exercise. A useful technique is to slowly count 1-2 when performing the exercise action, and count 1-4 when returning to the starting position.
- Posture - Sit up tall with both feet planted firmly on the floor.
- Back Support - To make sure that your lower back is supported, roll up a small towel and place it behind your back.
- Rest - Give your muscles a day's rest between strength training sessions. Your muscles may feel sore a day or two after you have started a new exercise. IF you are sore, wait until soreness has diminished before going back to strength training. Consult with your doctor if the muscle soreness lasts longer than two days. In addition, if muscle soreness last 2-3 hours after exercise, you know you have done too much. During the next exercise session, decrease the number of repetitions, sets, or weight until you find the right settings for you.