Sailing helps spinal cord injury victims keep fit

Miami victims of a spinal accident often find it difficult to stay fit and in shape, while gaining strength. Most rehabilitation exercises are helpful, but do not improve a patient’s strength. However, a new program is available to help strengthen spinal cord injury victims’ bodies and minds.

Used at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, a virtual sailing program designed for spinal cord patients is getting the job done. The V-Sail sailing simulation system includes a boat-like vessel and computer software that teaches patients how to sail.

The 12-week course improves spinal cord patients’ upper body strength, overall health and wellness, and their self-confidence and self-esteem. This virtual sailing course is specifically designed to accomplish these goals.

It is all too common for those confined to wheelchairs to lose muscle tone and strength. Since many patients suffer different types of paralysis, a one-size-fits-all exercise program seldom works. Until now.

As a patient’s physical condition improves, their psychological well being also displays improvement. Learning a new, enjoyable skill challenges their mind, as they increase their sailing knowledge and muscle strength. Offering movement, stimulation and strength building, V-Sail is much more than a sophisticated computer “game.”

The V-Sail program does not stop at simulation. When spinal cord injury patients are ready, they go to the Baltimore harbor. They then maneuver their own sailboat on the water. Their improved strength and muscle tone allows them to eliminate the word, “virtual,” from their sail training.

Do you know someone who could benefit from this wonderful new program? Do you see how effective this sailing system can be for spinal cord injury patients?

Source: WSFA, “Spinal cord injury patients gain strength by sailing,” Oct. 17, 2012