Wellbody Blog

At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Exercising Despite Injuries and Disabilities

BoaEstebanOne of our boa constrictors, Esteban, has embarked on a new exercise regimen despite and because of arthritis.

Naturally, our ache-y snake is not crazy about working out with a sore back (talk about a looooong stack of creaky vertebrae!), but SlitherFit has definitely helped his strength, flexibility and stamina.

Keep reading to learn more about Esteban’s arthritis treatment,  watch a video of our boa constrictors' out-of-cage strengthening and conditioning routine, and learn important reasons why humans with disabilities or injuries should exercise. 

We humans can learn from Esteban and Estrella. The snakes consulted with a medical professional (vet) before starting up. And, they’re starting off slooowly. How slowly? You’ll see when you watch this video of Estrella’s slither-rest-slither routine in front of her cage.

The key is to start wherever you are. A little bit of exercise is better than overdoing it, or doing nothing at all.

A recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that half of the 21 million Americans who have a disability don't exercise, and that lack of exercise is jeopardizing their health – increasing by 50 percent their risk for cancer, diabetes, stroke or heart disease.

One problem is that many doctors fail to suggest regular aerobic activity to patients who have disabilities. When health provideres do recommend it, patients are 82 percent more likely to exercise.

Taking a cue from Estrella and Esteban, humans should consult with their provider, then start slowly, 10 minutes at a time, gradually increasing activity to at least 2.5 hours a week, experts say. 

Start wherever you are. A little bit of exercise at a time is better than overdoing it, or doing none at all. 

Walk, swim, bike, roll your wheelchair, swing your arms. Other options to consider: aquatic exercise, chair yoga, adapted Tai Chi, wall push-ups, balance exercises and stability ball exercises.

Those who are injured can use similar training tactics.

If one body part is hurt, find a way to stay fit that protects your healing part while giving the rest of your body a work out.

Shin splits? Try swimming. Think of it as cross-training! Click here for sports medicine tips and tricks to maintain fitness while injured. 

Here are eight common injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, shoulder pain, shin splints...) and alternative workouts from Prevention.

Esteban and Estrella wish you all best on your new exercise regimen! The first slither is always the hardest.

Let us know how it’s going and please share progress and tips by commenting below or emailing professorwellbody@pacsci.org.

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Guest Saturday, 23 August 2014