Living With Polio
Proven Energy Boosts
Carol Elliott, polio survivor
These are exercises that I find useful in bringing more energy into my daily life. These routines, practiced alone or in combination, have helped revitalize my daily challenge with PPS. Most of these stretches and gentle exercises can be done while seated. As always, check with you healthcare provider to be sure these activities are suited for your unique medical situation.
Qi Gong (pronounced chee-gong) is a gentle form of exercise and movement. It dates back thousands of years to ancient China. The word “qi” (or “chi”) means “life force” and the “gong” means “accomplishment or skills that is cultivated through steady practice.” It is similar to yoga and tai chi with slow, natural movements that assist in stretching, breathing and improving mood. I have found good routines using the following video DVDs:
- Qi Gong for Seniors™ (with Lee Holden and Karen Holden, his mother)
- Qi Gong for Upper Bank and Neck Pain™
- Website: http://www.exercisetoheal.com
Seated yoga is wonderful for gently stretching stiff joints. Mindful breathing cleanses the mind/body to become your best self for the day. Here are several resources that are easy to access on the Internet, YouTube and TV.
- Yoga for Post-Polio patients by John P. Murtha Neuroscience Institute. © 2004 Conemaugh Health System. (Yoga instructor, Judith Sullivan). http://polioplace.org/resources/yoga-post-polio-patients
There are many resources for seated, low-impact exercises. The most can be found on TV and on YouTube. These are some of my favorites.
- Sit and Be Fit ™ with MaryAnn Wilson. A non-profit organization committed to healthy aging.
Award-winning TV exercises broadcast since 1987, and recognized by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) as a” Best Practice” program in healthy aging. (Check your local TV listings for daily morning programs.) Also many excellent, award-winning workout DVDs and tapes and audio recordings. Features small exercise ball and light weights.
And DVDs specifically for post-polio workouts and YouTube short demos: http://www.sitandbefit.org/postpolio
- Sample Exercises for Polio Survivors from Polio Place: http://polioplace.org/living-with-polio/sample-exercises
- Stronger Seniors: Chair Exercise for Balance and Posture with Anne Burnell
Resistance Band Exercises
Another way to get smooth, gentle exercise without using weights is using resistance bands. There are many on the market, each with varying degrees of resistance. I use a specially designed chair with four low-impact resistance cables attached to the chair—two for the arms and two for the legs. The chair also has a back support built in and is lightweight and comes ready to use. The chair comes with DVDs workout routines for various age and ability groups.
- The Resistance Chair® Exercise & Rehabilitation System. ©VQ ActionCare, LLC.