Orlando Health has developed a new program to train gym personnel to adapt workouts for those with spinal cord injuries, partnering with a CrossFit gym and training their coaches on their specific needs.
A traditional gym can be intimidating for these patients, where they not only face their physical limitations, but also the isolation of feeling different in a public place.
The goal of this new program is to provide an inclusive, non-intimidating, and safe community where spinal cord patients can continue their rehabilitation and build their strength to perform daily tasks such as pushing their wheelchair and transferring in and out of their chair, according to a media release from Orlando Health.
“Patients are able to go to the gym and feel like they’re part of the community there, working out right alongside everyone else,” says Andrea Cooper, a certified therapeutic recreation specialist at Orlando Health.
“The encouragement they get from their coaches and other CrossFit members helps these adaptive athletes keep up their routine, which is really important to making daily tasks easier and improving their quality of life.”
Via the new program, traditional CrossFit workouts are modified to be done in a wheelchair, focusing on upper body and core strength while also increasing their endurance and stamina.
“Their functional skills improve every day,” Cooper adds. “And each time I see patients who are participating in the adaptive CrossFit program, they’re able to do something they couldn’t do before.”
Orlando Health aims to use the pilot program as a model to help more gyms adapt their workouts for those with physical disabilities, encouraging inclusivity at fitness facilities across the country, per the release.
[Source: Orlando Health]