​How to Stay Active during the winter with a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted by Garrison Redd in Life After Paralysis on November 22, 2022 # Exercise

Garrison at the gymLiving with a spinal cord injury can be very difficult during the winter months. I am currently going on the 17th winter that I have been living with a spinal cord injury. For people (whether you are an able-body or disabled) during the winter months, what usually comes with the cold is excess weight gain. It is very important during the winter to continue being active, especially with a spinal cord injury. In today’s blog, I am going to share with you some of the things I do during the winter to maintain my weight and physique.

First and foremost, get outside. Whether you are pushing your manual chair or driving your electric chair, it is very important to get outside. The execration of any energy is always a positive thing within the SCI world. By staying inside and not moving, we are susceptible to other illnesses in addition to our current condition. So, on days the weather isn’t as harsh, I would encourage you to go outside, even if it’s to the mall or a sporting event – the outdoors is very important.

Another way to stay active during the winter is by joining a gym. When it comes to gyms and having a spinal cord injury, for some of us, this can be a bit intimidating. I have found that small local gyms are better than commercial gyms. However, that is just my preference. The gym is a great place to work up a sweat and socialize. Since the majority of people that go to the gym are there to get better in some form or fashion, your spinal cord injury can go unnoticed. Most gyms aren’t accessible, but there are ways to adapt the equipment. If you need adapting assistance, feel free to reach out to me.

Purchasing fitness equipment, you can use in the house is great for the winter. Sometimes the weather is just so harsh that it is impossible to roll through the snow. Depending on your injury level, some of the equipment I would purchase if you are paraplegic are dumbbells, resistance bands, and kettlebells. If you are a quadriplegic, I recommend resistance bands or TheraBand’s. These items should be sufficient enough to get a safe and effective workout in. Some of the movements you can do are bicep curls, shoulder presses, band pull-apart, and even some punches if you want to get a cardio workout through boxing.

So, as we prepare for the winter months, let’s not forget the importance of staying active. Whether you decide to join a gym or you are working out from the comforts of your home, movement is very important when living with a spinal cord injury. There have been studies that show there is a significant improvement in ability when you exercise regularly. If you need further details or assistance, feel free to reach out to me by email or on Instagram [email protected] and @garrisonredd on Instagram.

My name is Garrison Redd. I am a T-12 paraplegic born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I am searchable under Garrison Redd on YouTube or @GarrisonRedd on Instagram and Facebook. You can visit my website thegarrisonreddproject.org.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.