Weakness is a lack of muscular strength. These are the muscles that allow the human body to be active, to do all the tasks that make up daily life. These can be simple actions such as sitting at the edge of the bed, standing up, or bringing a fork to your mouth. Of course, it can go much further, such as climbing a rock face, windsurfing or running a marathon.
No matter how big or small the task, when you find it difficult to perform a daily or leisure activity, it’s quite possible that muscle weakness is partly to blame. It’s a good idea to start a strength-building program. Such exercises are relatively simple for the general population to understand and perform. However, for someone living with a neurological disorder, it may be quite different.
In some cases, muscles may not respond as they used to. To strengthen them, it is necessary to activate (or “recruit”) them at a very high level, which requires a great deal of concentration, patience, and generally the expertise of a therapist (eg: physiotherapy and kinesiology). The latter can direct you towards the exercises best suited to your specific strengths and weaknesses. Since the perception of your body’s sensations can be altered, he will tell you if the exercises are well executed, and how to do them optimally.
In other cases, some muscles do not respond at all, as in paralysis. Not only is it important to continue stimulating these muscles to prevent muscle atrophy (improving circulation and preventing wounds, etc.) but it is equally important to train the other functional muscle groups. Your therapist will then explain how these can compensate for the loss of function. Your therapist may also use specialized equipment to help you achieve your strengthening goals, for example, the Amadeo to strengthen finger muscles and the KINESIM for postural balance muscles. Functional electrical stimulation equipment is a valuable tool for strengthening muscles and overcoming certain muscle weaknesses.
You have the ability to lift a heavy weight once, but you can’t do it ten times in a row. You have the ability to walk, but for no more than five minutes. You run out of breath quickly. A decrease in endurance is when you can get up from your chair once or twice, but the effort becomes more arduous afterwards. This means that you have the muscular strength to do the activity, but lack the endurance to perform it satisfactorily and repeatedly in your daily life.
In some situations, it is the cardiorespiratory system that is at fault: shortness of breath forces you to stop and catch your breath. A personalized and adapted physical conditioning program will therefore help you to increase your endurance during effort.
In other cases, it is neurological condition that is at the origin of physical deconditioning and a decrease in our endurance capacity. Feeling tired during exercise is often present in people who have had a stroke or have multiple sclerosis, for example. In addition to an adapted kinesiology program, advice on energy and effort management may also be required. It makes sense to change the way you work and train often, whether in a group or alone. One of the most important things is to find a way to make it enjoyable and motivating! Tools that push you to surpass yourself in a game context like the Jintronix can certainly help you stay motivated and train.
Deconditioning is simply the lack of endurance and strength that results from a period of immobility and/or sedentary lifestyle. It is often observed following hospitalization or after an injury. Often, people who face new restrictions will unconsciously decrease their participation in usual activities. An adapted and encouraging environment, group classes and the support of therapists such as the Neuro-Concept team can help you regain a source of motivation and allow you to get out of your physical deconditioning cycle. Not always easy! With the right tools, the right advice and encouragement, hope and motivation will come into play and guarantee success.