Let me be the first to tell you that I’m working out again. Pumping up my cardiovascular system as well as gaining strength and muscle tone in my limbs. Thing is, I’ve always been a very athletic person. My sport of choice has always been running. But as life changes and/or disabilities happen, I’m obviously not running any longer. However, I recently discovered a lower body cycle specifically designed for those of us in wheelchairs.

It is absolutely awesome! What really sold me on this machine is the fact that it operates in either an active mode, where one can pedal if able, or in passive mode, wherein the machine works by moving your legs for you. Additionally, if I feel the impetus to assist with the action of the machine, I can and the machine’s digital readout will let me know how much I’m helping.

For me, this is the greatest feeling! It’s as though I’m working out again. Now, when I went into this disability, I was in terrific shape. And I’m lucky in that my muscles haven’t atrophied much. Part of my MS that actually helps keep my muscles intact is the nearly constant movement/spasms that occur in my legs. It’s not noticeable to anyone except me. It’s nearly imperceptible, but I can feel sort of like my legs are in constant motion as I sit still in my chair. It is these same spasms that allow me to stand and walk with the help of my physical therapist, Shelly.

Another thing that’s really neat about this machine is that it’s calibrated to allow for weakness and/or spasms. In other words, it will slow down and allow the body to go through whatever it needs to, then resumes when the legs are again relaxed. Now, the instructions said to not over do the first time trying. It was recommended that I use it for five minutes the first day. So after about 45 minutes, I figured that was enough for my first day. What can I say? I’ve never been good with following rules.

And, I’ll definitely be using this machine more than the recommended once daily. Well give me a break! I haven’t worked out in something like five years. I have a lot of catching up to do? talk to you next week. I’ll be cycling like a madman until then.

Kathryn Spira,

Kathryn’s Korner Cycling Away

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