It was brought to my attention that I should consider expanding my fitness horizon. This person recommended that I do both water fitness as well as land exercises. Instead of two and a half to three hours in the water, I should split my time amongst the two. Someone then suggested that I do an hour on land and the rest in the pool.
I was hesitant because there is a freedom for me as my body buoyancy is beneficial in the pool. There are physical limitations on land that vanish in this magical water. These restrictions become outright obstructive when attempting exercises in a wheelchair on land. Then I thought to myself why not at least check out my land-fitness options.
So I decided to go and observe my options. The first piece of equipment that I looked at was the hand cycle. I would say that this mechanism is simplicity in motion. I do require someone to adjust the handle height for me since I am four foot tall in my wheelchair. This handcycle is a fundamental movement even for assistance needing person like me. All you need to do is pedal with your hands. This piece of equipment is mostly useful for cardio and endurance. The first piece of land equipment is reasonable and not a bad choice.
The machine that is directly next to the handcycle is called the infinity rope. It has a rope with some inline pulleys as well as a way to tighten the tension. This machine is also mainly good for cardio and endurance. My problem is that I cannot pull my chair close enough to get a good angle to make it useful to me. So the second piece of land equipment is a no go.
After those two pieces of equipment things continue to change for the worse for the disabled. At this point, most of the fitness equipment becomes as useless as a hair dryer for a bald guy for us who are wheelchair bound. They have a plethora of other equipment that requires bending, stooping or climbing that we cannot do. To use these devices, we would need several firefighters and a person to direct traffic.
They have a few free-weight dumbbells, but those and the handcycle do not make for a reasonable land fitness routine. Also, to make it more worth my time I would have to transfer to a weight bench, and that is not as easy as one would think. A weight bench is too narrow to be a stable surface.
Alas, it is the pool that I will use for the entire time. It has very few limitations, and I can work around the exigous number of restrictions that do exist. There is a freedom that allows the disabled swimmer to be who he or she cannot be on land. This marvelous water makes it possible for even the ambulatory to move without the weight-bearing limitations of the earth’s gravity. Pool fitness is also better on the joints and in my humble opinion better for super circular heroes or the wheeled wonders.
Find whatever works best for you but do not stop moving your body.