Over the past seventeen years, Mark’s exercise program has changed a bit as he has improved or his needs have changed. On Monday and Wednesday nights, when the volunteers come to help Mark, we start by getting him down on carpeted floor. This takes two people, one on each side.
Exercise tools: a 2′ x 4’sliding board, 2 barbell weights, 12 plastic cups, 2 wash cloths, folding chair, doorway bar and walker.
Together we do the following exercises:
1. BRIDGING – While lying on his back with knees bent, Mark pushes his hips up as far as he can, holding a second and then lowers his hips back down. A person needs to hold Mark’s feet down so they don’t slide out and steady his legs, keeping his knees together. 25-50 times
2a. BUTTERFLIES – With arms straight out against the floor at shoulder height, with a weight in each hand, Mark lifts his arms straight up over the middle of his face. While Mark does this, a person can do the leg press (2b). 30 butterflies per each leg press
2b. LEG PRESS – Since Mark is in a wheelchair all day long it’s hard for him to straighten out his legs. Mark can do the butterfly exercise (2a) while a person is pressing the leg down to the floor with one hand above the knee and the other hand below the knee. Hold each leg down for 30 seconds
3. HIP STRETCH – With knees bent and feet together, stretch the knees apart. Hold 30 seconds – 3 times
***Take Mark’s shoes off and use the sliding board for exercises 4 and 5***
4. KNEE BENDS – With Mark lying on his back with the sliding board under his legs and feet, a person assists Mark in sliding his foot towards his buttocks. Mark can do this exercise well with the right leg, but the left leg needs a lot of assistance. Sometimes another person has to move it a few times before Mark can do it on his own. Sometimes the brain does not kick in at all and on those times the helper needs to bend the left knee upwards and let Mark try to hold it there, without letting in slide down the board. 10 knee bends per leg
5. HIP FLEX & ABDUCT – With Mark lying on his back with the sliding board under both legs, slide 1 leg straight out at a time in a snow angel movement. His left leg will need assistance. Each side 10 times
***Put Mark’s shoes back on***
6. CRUNCHES – This exercise uses 12 plastic cups. For this exercise a person sitting on each side of Mark will help stabilize his bent knees. One holds the stacked cups at Mark’s shoulder height about two feet from his shoulder. Mark reaches across his body with his right hand to get one cup that is held on his left side. Once he has the cup, he puts it in his left hand and reaches across his body to set the cup on his right side. This exercise rotates the upper body while the lower body is stabilized. He will move the stack of cups to one side and then back again.
***Mark rolls over on his stomach with a towel placed under his face for comfort***
7. BACKWARD SHOULDER STRETCH – With arms down by his side, Mark lifts his arms upward together and then back down. 25 times
8. OUTWARD SHOULDER STRETCH – Both arms straight out at shoulder height. Hold stretch for at least 60-90 seconds
9. SUPERMAN STRETCH – Both arms straight up over his head like superman. Hold stretch for at least 60 seconds
10. QUAD STRETCH – While lying on his stomach, Mark bends his knee backwards trying to kick his buttocks. Each side15 times
11. PUSH UPS – While on his stomach and hands under his shoulders, Mark should push up. He has a hard time with this exercise, but it’s good for him to try. 15 times
12. BALANCE ON ALL FOURS – While one person is helping Mark push back with his arms, another will help bend Mark’s knees forward and lift him up so that he is balancing on his knees and hands. This is necessary because Mark is so ridged. Hold for 60 seconds
13. BALANCING – Use the back side of a folding chair for this exercise. While Mark is on his hands and knees he shifts his weight to climb the back parts of the folding chair, similar to climbing a ladder with his hands. 3-5 times
14. TALL KNEELING – Again, with the use of the back side of the folding chair, Mark wil climb up until he is on his knees. Move the chair and have Mark balance on his knees. A person needs to be on each side of Mark in case he loses his balance. Balance at least 60 seconds without holding onto the chair.
15. STANDING – From the tall kneeling position, with a person on each side they will assist Mark in standing up.
16. BAR STANDING – We have a bar that runs across a doorway between braces. We also have a foot brace for Mark’s feet while he does this exercise. Mark stands, holding onto the bar for at least 60 seconds. It takes another person to assist him up to the bar and give verbal cues in keeping his balance with upright posture and straight knees.
17. WALKING WITH A WALKER – Mark can walk with some verbal cues and support. One person should follow behind him with the wheelchair so he can rest when needed. This is done around the house or outside when weather permits. Usually takes 5 to 10 minutes and is Mark’s goal for the night.
***The total time for exercise routine is 45 – 60 minutes***
Click below to see Mark walk.