May 15, 2020
Spinal cord injury recovery doesn’t stop when physical therapy is over. Spinal cord injury recovery centers, like CORE, focus on intensive therapy and adaptive fitness to help increase neuroplasticity. These intensive programs use different types of equipment and techniques, including activity based training, and can be beneficial to people with a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury, among other neurological conditions.
So what is activity based training exactly? Activity based training (ABT) aims to improve independence, wellness, and recovery potential, while getting individuals moving out of their wheelchair or away from their assistive device. These training programs implement a full body approach to exercise along with weight bearing practice, neuromuscular electrical stimulation, core strengthening, locomotor training, and massed practice. All of these activities utilize specialized fitness equipment, such as body weight support treadmills.
Now you know what ABT is, but why is it important to exercise after a spinal cord injury? We all know that exercise can help with weight management for everyone, but after a life changing injury there are other complications that can arise due to a sedentary lifestyle. ABT and other forms of adaptive fitness help to reduce the risk of pressure sores, osteoporosis, osteopenia, heterotopic ossification, spasticity, deep vein thrombosis, cardiovascular disease, and muscle atrophy. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults with disabilities should venture to get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity, or 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity per week. It is also recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that those who are able should participate in muscle strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups at least two times per week. ABT programs and adaptive fitness are great ways to get that recommended exercise every week.
How is working out in a spinal cord injury recovery center different than working out in a regular gym? Gyms that offer ABT have trainers with experience, who are specialized in working with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and many other neurological conditions. The trainers aren’t the only specialized part of an ABT gym though. Specially designed equipment and technology that you wouldn’t find in your average gym is used regularly in adaptive fitness programs. Locomotor training can be done while using a body weight support system on a treadmill or over ground. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation can be used to help facilitate exercises that may not be achieved otherwise. If you can’t make it to one of these gyms, you can find instructional videos featuring exercises you can do from home, just like you see on CORE’s social media.
If you still have questions about how ABT and adaptive fitness may be beneficial for you contact us today!