Prolonged sitting actively promotes many chronic diseases and may shorten your life span. This is extremely scary for wheelchair users, office workers and those who need to sit while working.
According to Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic in the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, roughly 10 000 publications have stated that sitting is harmful to your health. Possible health issues include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, curving of the spine, shortening of the muscles and even death. The studies are endless and the information is clear, we need to get moving and up out of our chairs as much as possible.
If you have a disability, standing may not be something you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle. The ability to stand means you would need some sort of assistive device such as a standing frame or another assistive apparatus. Luckily, the technology has improved greatly and these devices are more readily available.
Ideas for those using wheelchairs to incorporate standing into their life:
At Aim2Walk we have an amazing device called the Lokomat. Not only does it get you standing, it also moves your legs with the assistance of robotic legs. It is the ultimate tool to allow someone with no movement, to move their legs. Many of our clients report that the Lokomat is the key to keeping a regular routine for bowel movements.
We recently had Robert Woo visit our clinic with his Exoskeleton suit from ReWalk. We hope to see this technology improve and become more available to those using mobility devices. Robert has been using the Exoskeleton for the past five years and has not had a urinary tract infection (UTI) since. This is extremely positive for those who suffer from regular UTIs.
The Standing Frame is another great assistive standing apparatus at Aim2walk. Unlike the Lokomat however, it is sedentary. For most people, this is more financially realistic than the ReWalk. We have two at our clinic and they are used frequently throughout the day. Standing frames are great for weight bearing, helping to improve bone density and regulating blood pressure. You can also include an upper body workout while you’re standing in the standing frame.
Ideas for those with desk jobs to incorporate standing into their life:
Many work places are encouraging ergonomic work environments. This means you adapt your workspace to your body mechanics and preferences. If standing is the key to a healthy lifestyle, perhaps a standing workspace, at the place you spend majority of your day would be best. The video below is by Dr. Mercola explaining his standing workspace. He has limited his sitting to only 30 minutes per day.
At Aim2Walk, we have many clients who use the Lokomat for the very same reason. Although they may not be able to get up and walking, they maintain a healthy lifestyle by getting up out of their chair and moving their legs as much as possible at therapy.
Exercise is also extremely important in order to maintain a healthy body. Aim2Walk has adapted fitness classes for EVERY BODY type. In January, we will begin our next round of Fitness classes as well as Tai Chi classes.
If you are unable to get out of your chair, I would suggest moving your body as much as possible to encourage blood flow throughout your entire body. There are many online wheelchair workout videos if you cannot make it to our fun filled Every Body Fitness and Tai Chi classes.