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Spinal Cord Injury Fitness Program

Mary Free Bed’s Spinal Cord Injury Program offers a fitness and wellness component to its inpatient therapy program. The Spinal Cord Injury Program works in collaboration with the David D. Hunting YMCA, located in downtown Grand Rapids. The Hunting YMCA is the designated facility where therapists assist spinal cord injury patients with implementing fitness programs aimed at helping them attain their optimal level of physical fitness in a real world environment.

How the Spinal Cord Injury Fitness Program Works

Spinal Cord Injury Fitness Program therapists educate patients regarding the benefits of regular exercise. During their stay at Mary Free Bed, patients with spinal cord injuries who meet program criteria visit the YMCA with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a therapeutic recreation specialist who will help them develop exercise programs and leisure activities to implement after discharge.

Exercise programs are customized for individual patients, taking into account their injury, functional status, endurance, and personal interests. Mary Free Bed partnered with the new David D. Hunting YMCA because it provides various exercise options for people with spinal cord injuries, including weights, cardio and strengthening equipment, swimming pools, basketball courts, and a rock climbing wall. The YMCA offers wheelchair users an incredible state-of-the-art, barrier-free facility – from accessible locker rooms to high-tech fitness equipment.

The gym is often an intimidating environment to initially enter for able-bodied users, but can be even more intimidating for individuals with spinal cord injuries who are in wheelchairs or use mobility devices. The spinal cord injury fitness program allows newly injured individuals to see that it is possible to work out in a community environment with some adaptations. The therapists also see their patients grow in confidence throughout their visits to the YMCA.

Mary Free Bed therapists give patients the tools to function as a community member like they used to, and they often are inspired to continue living healthy lifestyles after their spinal cord injury. Additionally, reintegration into the community after a spinal cord injury is extremely important, and the YMCA provides patients with a sense of community.

Individuals participating in the spinal cord injury fitness program have experienced very real benefits. Patients report increased strength in legs and arms, making transfers easier; increased endurance, flexibility, and self-esteem; and better circulation.

In addition to establishing fitness programs, the spinal cord injury therapists provide education regarding what to look for in an accessible fitness facility. Following discharge, spinal cord injury patients have the option to join the YMCA. The YMCA also provides financial assistance and scholarship programs for those who qualify, making access potentially available to all.

Contact the Spinal Cord Injury Fitness Program

616.493.9568 or 800.528.8989

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