For many patients with CMT, walking the dog, carrying the groceries, or putting them away at home can be fatiguing, painful, scary, and sometimes insurmountable tasks. These activities of daily living and others, are activities which may be improved with focused and progressive therapeutic exercise. The general population, young and old, and certainly those with medical issues are encouraged to exercise by doctors, family, governmental health agencies, and even the media to improve health and quality of life.
A consistent exercise program is an essential part of attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity helps to maintain a healthy body composition, strengthen joints and muscles, improve balance and cardiovascular function. For those living with CMT, progressive exercise has the potential to improve functional ability, independence, and quality-of-life. An ever-increasing body of clinical and scientific information indicates that most patients with CMT, when not contraindicated, should regularly participate in exercise and physical activity under the guidance of a qualified professional.
Starting an exercise program can be intimidating to many patients with CMT, when routine tasks such as buttoning a shirt, navigating stairs, or opening a car door are daily challenges. Foot deformities, balance deficits, foot drop, and increased risk of falling also may prevent those living with CMT from participating in regular forms of physical activity and exercise. Choosing the “right exercise” or the “best activity” is often a factor steering those with CMT away from enjoying the benefits of regular exercise and physical activity.
Exercise regimens for patients with CMT should be developed under the guidance and with the advice of informed professionals, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, physiatrists, and exercise physiologists familiar with CMT.
HNF created “Band Together for CMT” to give patients with CMT some suggestions and a starting point to begin an exercise program. Each individual should seek professional guidance as to their individual program in terms of intensity, volume and frequency of exercise. Patients with CMT may have unique strengths and weakness, limitations and potential precautions to exercise and activities to be considered when starting a program. Every exercise and activity displayed has potential modifications in position, action, and more to enable everybody to participate. The general principles herein are more important than the specific exercises displayed. These are some basic movements which may be of benefit to those with CMT. There are many choices of appropriate exercises and activities, including balance activities, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching (all important), which are not included in this edition. A comprehensive, individualized program is always the best way to begin. If you haven’t exercised in sometime, start VERY slowly, progress carefully, if you have been exercising, listen to your body as you progress.
ALWAYS, speak with your doctor and/or physical or occupational therapist prior to beginning any new exercise or activities. Discuss the intensity (how hard you should work), the frequency (how many times a week), mode (what type of exercise or activity to do), and duration (how long you should exercise each day) with a professional.
Ready to get started?
Simply make a donation in recognition of September CMT Awareness Month, HNF will send you a guide book of exercises with three resistance bands for your use. Band Together for CMT booklets will be mailed September 25th. Let’s Band Together for CMT today!
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*For international orders please make an additional donation of $10 to cover shipping.