Are Power Plates The Answer To Losing Weight As A Wheelchair User?
A few weeks ago, I had an email from someone asking if I'd lost weight or if something else was going on. Well the truth is that in the last 4 months I've lost 13.5kg and I'm not about to stop anytime soon!
It's a well known fact that wheelchair users who acquire their disability often quickly put on weight in the first few months of the life changing rollercoaster that comes with a new health condition/injury etc. Within 4 months of being diagnosed with Spondy, my weight shot up from 54.6kg to 82.3kg, and wasn't helped by the fact that I was put on steroids and other medications that induce weight gain. The other problem as well, is that your body only requires around 40% of your original calorie intake due to the leg muscles not being used, and the body does not adapt to that dramatic change very easily or quickly. It took me around 8 months to safely drop my calorie intake from 2200 calories a day, to just over 800 a day. Once that was achieved, and my weight became more stable between October 2015 and May 2016 (I was at this point around the 84kg mark), I made a promise to myself that I would get back down to 60kg.
Easier said than done. I couldn't drop my food intake any lower, your brain needs 600 calories a day just to function properly. So looking at what exercise I could do as a paraplegic became the next quest. I was already swimming and playing wheelchair tennis to keep my weight stable, as well as going to the gym twice a week, and then I heard about the power plate. I knew using one I'd have to be careful, my spine isn't stable and the vibrations could cause more harm than good. However, after speaking to a physio who showed me how to correctly use one as well as exercises to do, I brought myself one to use at home for 15-20 minutes each day, split into 2 sessions. Within 3 weeks, I'd lost 2 inches from my waist, and that gave me the push I needed to keep going.
I can't stand, so I sit on the plate with my hands either side for 3 minutes, and then i sit on the floor facing the plate, pop my arms on the plate and do that for 3 minutes, and then go up onto my hands for 4 minutes. Also, sometimes I'll kneel on the plate to try and reach the last of my core muscles that do still work. It's also helped to build the muscle in my arms to make getting up hills a lot easier, and I'm hoping to develop new exercises to do on the plate as well. That being said, I've also increased my gym visits to 4 times a week, and I swim 6 times a week as well for 90 minutes. It's a big ask on anyone to do that much exercise if you're not used to it, and you need to ease yourself into it to avoid injury. Before my spine happened, I was ice dancing and training 34 hours a week, so I had the ability to throw myself into it a bit more than what I'd recommend anyone else doing if they aren't used to such an intense training schedule.
That being said, I would recommend the Power Plate to anyone who is struggling to lose weight and tone up, but you absolutely need to do it with other exercise and not just on its own.
Do you have any specific workouts you do or equipment you use to help stay in shape? Let people know in the comments so that they can get helpful ideas for their own exercise regime or weight loss journey!
If you'd like to know more about the diet I'm currently on, click here to read about it.