Staying fit during quarantine

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on May 01, 2020 # COVID-19, Exercise

By guest blogger Garrison Redd

As we all know right now, we are experiencing very turbulent times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Depending on what part of the country you are in, you’re being required to adhere to certain social distancing rules. Whether that means you are being quarantined or many non-essential businesses are unable to open there is a direct effect on your livelihood.

As a person living with a spinal cord injury this can be very stressful times. I reside in New York City which has become the epicenter of the virus. I am also a t-12 paraplegic as well as a team USA Para-Powerlifter. Working out and staying strong has been a part of my everyday routine for the last 3 years. With gyms closed, which many of us rely on to stay active which improves our overall well-being, we are left somewhat confused on what to do next. As well as some of us who are still receiving therapy in some cases as outpatients we aren’t being allowed or we are afraid to attend our sessions just because there is potential of being exposed to the virus. Garrison Redd

These current times are very challenging due to the uncertainty of this virus as well as the impact it can have on an individual living with a spinal cord injury. So, for me I try to follow the protocol as much as possible, such as washing my hands routinely. I also practice social distancing as much as possible. I rarely leave my house, unless I have to go to the supermarket and I always wear a mask and gloves. The one issue that I do have is, how do I clean my hand rims? I use a manual wheelchair and it seems inevitable for me to properly clean my hand rims. I use them to propel my wheelchair, which means I constantly contact them with dirty gloves. However, one thing you learn with SCI is the ability to adapt.

Due to the fact that gyms are closed, I have been staying on top of my workout routine. I have designed a variety of in-home adaptive workout routines for my fellow wheelchair users, which can be seen on YouTube. A typical routine for me (which can be modified for quadriplegics who lack dexterity in their fingers they can use wrist weights) would go as follow. I warmup by stretching my arms, then I do band pull a parts 2 sets of 10 reps, then I move on to doing 4 sets of 12 rep arm curls at a comfortable weight, I do lateral raises 4 sets of 10 reps, I also do shoulder shrugs 4 sets of 6 reps, If you are able to transfer to the floor I usually do 5 sets of 10 pushups I do recommend to put your cushion under your knees. If you have a medicine ball, I like to do 4 sets of 20 second holds in a crunch position. To finish off if you have an ab-roller I do 4 sets of 15 rep ab rolls.

If you need a visual description of what some of these exercises look like feel free to contact me, I am searchable under Garrison Redd on Youtube or @GarrisonRedd on Instagram and Facebook. As well as you can visit my website thegarrisonreddproject.org. and you can send me a message on Reeve Connect Garrison Redd or email. I hope everybody stays safe and strong.


For more resources on the coronavirus, visit the Reeve Foundation COVID-19 Information Center.