Alex is 7 years old and lives in Epping, Essex with his family.
“I was born with a tethered spinal cord at C5-T1 which was operated on when I was 11 months old. I have full use of my left arm and hand but no function in my right hand. I have little sensation and no control below the chest area and wear a torso corset to help me with core stability.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of children and their families, and even more so for disabled children like Alex who is classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. The lockdowns have meant Alex has been learning from home and also looking for new ways to stay active during an increasing time shielding.
He tells us that things have changed a lot over the past year and this is even more noticeable in the ways in which he is now staying fit and healthy. Alex is a really active young man and he is missing his usual routine so much and can’t wait to return to the local track and gym soon. As he explains,
“I normally train with Richard Chiassaro at Harlow Wheelchair Racing Club and that has stopped currently. I also used to go to the gym on Sunday mornings where I did some floor based and chair based strength and cardio exercises which were fun.”
With these facilities being closed Alex and his family have looked for new ways for him to maintain fitness and help his muscle strength.
“Being at home has meant doing more hours in my standing frame which is good but I am definitely not as fit and strong as I was when I was racing and training.”
As we all wait in anticipation of a return to sporting facilities and our clubs, it’s very important to stay active from home and WheelPower have provided lots of resources to do so. The charity has also gifted over 450 sets of resistance bands to disabled people across the United Kingdom, and Alex is one of the individuals who is now enjoying the regular use of the bands to help his fitness.
“These new bands from WheelPower are great, and they make me feel more in control. I don't push my chair as much at the moment because we are at home most of the time, so I'm just not getting as much exercise as I usually do. But with these new bands I am now able to take part in training with my friends from the local wheelchair racing club on Zoom. I like the social interaction we have. My mum also bought me an Active Hand grip which now helps me to hold the resistance bands well in my right hand.”
In addition to the bands Alex has also enjoyed many of WheelPower's online workouts accessible via the website and on our YouTube Channel. As he explains, “We have watched Ben Clark's videos and Bob’s instruction videos from the website which were great. I am looking forward to trying Ella’s new workouts soon!”
We are so happy to hear that Alex is enjoying using his new WheelPower Resistance Bands and we hope that they support him to stay strong until the time allows him to return to the track and the sport of Wheelchair Racing. Perhaps we will see you at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in the not too distant future!
“Thank you WheelPower for giving me something that helps keep me strong, fit and gives me a chance to train with my friend over zoom.”
Thank you again to Alex and his family for allowing us to share your story. We hope the bands bring you much joy for many years to come and that you continue to enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity when the pandemic is over.
MAY 2021 UPDATE:
With the restrictions easing Alex has been able to return to the Harlow Wheelchair Racing Club for in-person training sessions alongside GB Paralympian coach Richard Chiasarro.
If you have received resistance bands from WheelPower and would like to share your story then please get in contact with the team and we will be in touch shortly firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply for a FREE set of Resistance Bands from WheelPower
Apply now for a set of resistance bands so that you can keep active at home during this difficult time. If your application is successful we will send you a resistance band set which will include hand grips, ankle straps and a door anchor that make it easier to target different muscle groups, including biceps and triceps, back and shoulders, chest and legs and abdominals. Resistance training builds resistive power in body muscles and there are many benefits to adding these exercises to your weekly routine.
The bands can be used for the exercises features in our Resistance Band Exercises for Wheelchair Users film or for yoga, warming up before exercising, strength training or physical therapy rehabilitation. They are designed for aerobic and anaerobic exercise, physical fitness and weight loss.
You must be a UK resident to apply.