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They say sitting to much is our generation's smoking but what about for someone like me who has a disability that hinders their ability to stand for long periods or just plain move? I have a physical disability known amyoplasia which is a common form of arthrogryposis. In my case I cannot bend my knees fully (about 45-60 degree angle). I tend to hunch but I could straighten my back. My right foot is turned outward a bit and my balance is ok but not great. From what I have been told, unless I have more surgeries or get in a bad accident, I should not deteriorate like those with MS. My condition makes it difficult for me to move, although I can walk fine if I fall I cannot get up. However if I fall at home I could always use furniture to crawl up and get back up to stand. So because of that I don't walk as much as I probably should. Recently in the past few years I have taken a interest in technology but I'm worried because of all the recent studies and reports about sitting that I am sitting too much. Using a standing desk may help but my feet start to hurt after a few hours of too much standing. Any ideas to help counteract the problem of sitting too much?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Lego Stormtroopr, FredrikD, Tracy at 2bactive, JohnP, Matt Chan Apr 26 '14 at 1:51

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

How about alternating between a standing desk and sitting on a stability ball? – Kneel-Before-ZOD Apr 25 '14 at 3:16
Strongly disagree with the VTC, although a bit more information on your condition might be helpful. There're many way to counteract negative effects from sitting too much and many ways to aid someone in your position. To know which ones you can actually do would help us recommend the right ones. So what's this disability? Is it neurological, physical, the spine, the stabilizing muscles? – LarissaGodzilla Apr 25 '14 at 6:57
@Kneel-Before-ZOD the stability ball is a bad idea. I tried one once in school and ended up falling over quite fast. – Raansu293 Apr 25 '14 at 10:05
@LarissaGodzilla Read my edit above, I added more detail about my physical condition. Edit: sorry what does "VTC" mean? – Raansu293 Apr 25 '14 at 10:07
@LarissaGodzilla - You need to look past the actual meaning of sitting and not be so literal. Sitting a lot implies a sedentary lifestyle, as people now sit to work, sit to play (video games), sit to eat, most lifestyles revolve around being relatively motionless. The implication is that people are addicted to sitting much as they were to cigarettes, and all the health problems that come with that lack of motion. – JohnP Apr 25 '14 at 14:39
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I'm going to preface this with the fact that I am not a physical therapist, nor am I a personal trainer. Before embarking on any type of exercise regimen, I do recommend you talk to your doctor and quite possibly get a physical therapist if you (or your family) can afford it. The good news is that it seems like your condition is not degenerative. My daughter's friend has a rare form of MS that inhibits the body's ability to rebuild muscle after exercise. He also needs help getting up if he falls.

Based on the general description of what you have, and a quick reading of what Amyoplasia is, working the lower body is going to be a challenge. This is why I recommend a physical therapist. They may be able to help you compensate better for the limitations in your range of motion.

Aerobic Training

It sounds like several forms of aerobic training just aren't going to work for you. That means you'll have to be a lot more creative. Here's the good news: the heart doesn't know whether you are using your legs or your arms to move. It just knows it has to pump more blood. You just need to get your heart rate up, but still be able to talk while exercising.

A couple possibilities would be:

  • Swimming (legs are typically straight in most forms)
  • Anything where the bulk of your movement is in the upper body. I believe there are some exercise bike variations where you pedal with your hands.

Strength Training

Here your options are a bit more open, particularly since you are going to be supported in some capacity. If the disability is strictly in the lower body, I recommend the use of machines for exercising the legs. While I love exercises like squats and deadlifts, those aren't going to work for you. (You might be able to do sumo deadlifts, but I'd wait a bit before you attempt them). If your upper body is not afflicted by the amyoplasia, then I would attempt to use free weights while in a seated or laying position.

  • Bench press (dumbbells or barbells)
  • Seated overhead press (dumbbells or barbells)
  • Dumbbell rows (kneeling on a bench)
  • Lat pull downs (machine)
  • Leg press (machine, as much range of motion as you can safely handle)
  • Leg curls (machine, same as leg press)
  • Any abdominal work (planks, sit ups, candlesticks)

Any of the machines with something to sit on or lay on should be quite safe for you. You'll at least want to get strong enough so that you can have more independence. You might need some forearm crutches to move around in the gym, and you can use them to help you get up and down. Don't be scared of the weight room. Most everyone there is just trying to get stronger or look better. You can make some good friends there. Your initial goal would be to be able to stand up and sit down at will--even if you are using something to help you to transition. If you spend enough time there just putting in work, people will come to respect you.

Final Thoughts

Disabilities just means some things are harder for you than they are for other people. The challenge is to find what you can do, and what you enjoy doing. Physical therapists help you either regain lost mobility, or make better use of the body you have. Finding a good one will help you be as independent as you can be, and help you live your life as fully as you can.

While you have some physical limitations, the biggest limitation everyone has is what they allow themselves to do. Everyone is capable of improving themselves in some way. The more you understand what your limitations truly are, the smarter you can be about improving yourself.

The bottom line is that moving regularly in some fashion is going to help your heart work better, use your calories better, keep your blood pressure down, and in general improve your overall health. Find what you can do now, and look to improve on that over time. You might not ever be on the basketball team, but you'll be a more confident person.

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I love swimming, there is a pool in my apartment complex but it's off limits all winter. I do try to swim a lot when it's hot though. About a physical therapist, I have gone to my local CCS Medical Therapy Unit. The folks I've seen there almost all of my life thus far feel I have gotten all the help I could. They do checkups now and give me a list of stretches and exercises I could maybe do every few months. I also get the same rap from my Shriners doctor. I have been looking around and I found a program called Access Leisure through the local Parks and Rec that provides disabled activities. – Raansu293 Apr 26 '14 at 3:30
Access Leisure has quite a few activities and I just filled out a form for their disabled hand-cycling program. I haven't gone yet, their next event is on the 3rd of next month but it sounds really good. They provide hand cycling bikes of all kinds for use during their ride events. – Raansu293 Apr 26 '14 at 3:35
Excellent! Avoiding all the detriments of sitting around all the time just requires you being active in any way you can. It's easier to do when you find things you enjoy doing. – Berin Loritsch Apr 27 '14 at 1:33

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