Damage to your brain and/or spinal cord due to an accident can cause paralysis, i.e., an inability to move certain parts of your body. Paralysis is often complete and permanent, especially when it occurs due to spinal cord damage.
If the condition is irreversible, you may not think that it is possible to exercise with paralysis. However, according to the Reeve Foundation, it is not only possible to exercise while paralyzed, but it can offer potential physical and mental benefits.
Physical inactivity can cause you to gain weight. Secondary effects of paralysis, such as decreased muscle mass and altered metabolism, may make you even more susceptible to weight gain. Putting on extra pounds can put you at risk for other health conditions. You may be at greater risk for developing bedsores due to moisture trapped within the skin. If you use a non-motorized wheelchair, excess weight puts additional strain on your shoulder, making rotator cuff tears a greater possibility.
Exercise may benefit you mentally as well as physically. Studies have shown that it helps you to think more clearly and make you more alert. Research also suggests that exercise can help improve memory and prevent degenerative brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. The theory is that exercise gives a boost to the development of your brain cells, but more research is necessary to determine the exact relationship between exercise and brain cell proliferation.
If an accident has left you paralyzed, there are certain exercises that you will not be able to do. However, trainers with experience in working with paralysis patients can modify an exercise program to meet your needs.