Other Tips for Making Equipment More Useable
Man working out in Fitness center
- Unless you are very familiar and comfortable with the equipment, you should ask the staff to show you the different types of equipment and how they work.
- Staff may not be familiar with your disability, and may have limited knowledge about adapting activities. You may need to teach the staff about your abilities and limitations, and work together with them to meet your needs.
- If you are able to use a treadmill, make sure you know the starting speed, so you are not surprised and fall. The treadmill should start at less than 1 mile per hour.
- It is important to be knowledgeable about your balance in a seated, and standing position in order to make a safe activity choice. If you feel unstable, choose a seated exercise.
- Once you have transferred onto a piece of exercise equipment you can use a strap (such as a long piece of Velcro or an extra-long belt) as a "seat belt" to help you balance. You can also use a strap to stabilize your legs or feet to help you balance. Some wheelchairs have a removable strap that goes behind the lower legs. This strap, if it is long enough, works well for this purpose.
- If you have trouble with gripping, a cuff can be attached to some equipment, such as weights on pulleys or an overhead bar. PICTURE: A cuff attached to a person's arm and to a pulley weight machine
- Stationary bicycles use pedal straps to keep your feet in place.If you need additional support, Velcro straps can be helpful.PICTURE: A velcro strap attached to an exercise bicycle's pedal helps users keep their foot on the pedal.
- Free weights can be used for strength training, if other machines are not accessible.
- Cuff weights are soft and can be attached to your wrist or ankle with Velcro. They can be helpful for people with limited grip. PICTURE: Soft weights that attach to a person's wrist with Velcro
- Ask for free weights that are less than 5 pounds. Weights that are 1, 2 and 3 pounds work well if your strength is limited.9
- An Action Glove can be used to help grip free weights and other exercise equipment.10 A Velcro strap is used to make your fist close around the handle. PICTURE: Action Glove used to help grip a free weight.
- Be aware that free weights require good trunk stability and may be difficult to use if you have severe limitations in motor control and coordination
The Action Glove is available from Access to Recreation (http://www.accesstr.com/)