New exercise machines help Tiverton patients improve health and recovery

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By tinap | Monday, December 17, 2012, 14:34

Patients with a range of conditions are exercising their way to better health and recovery using three specialist machines at Tiverton and District Hospital.

The machines have been specially adapted for people sitting in a wheelchair or lying in their bed, who wouldn't be able to use a normal exercise bike.

They are proving successful for patients recovering from an operation or stroke as well as people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, muscular disorders, brain injuries and other conditions.

Oonagh Rowe, team lead for physiotherapy and rehabilitation in Tiverton and Cullompton for the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said the feedback about the machines had been overwhelmingly positive.

She said: "Regular exercise is essential for health but for people who can walk no more than a few steps at a time, or not at all, it can be very difficult.

"These machines make exercise possible for these people and have been shown to improve their health or speed up their recovery.

"We are very grateful to the League of Friends for buying the machines, which continue to enhance the lives of patients here in Tiverton."

The first machine was donated by the League of Friends last year and is so versatile that people sitting in a wheelchair can use it to exercise their legs or arms.

It proved so popular that the charity bought a second Theravital pedal machine, which has also brought positive results and feedback.

The League of Friends has also donated a separate machine which can be used by people lying on their bed, and has proved successful for inpatients.

Colin Butt is one of the many patients to benefit from the Theravital machine.

After suffering a stroke in February, Colin went through a period of rehabilitation as an inpatient and is now back at his home in Tiverton.

Oonagh said: "Because of the stroke, it is difficult for him to exercise.

"Coming in to use the bike means he can exercise as an able-bodied person would at the gym.

"Colin can stay in his wheelchair and use the pedals for exercising his legs or arms."

Another regular user of the machine, who has a condition which affects his lower limb muscles, said: "The machine allows me to get a really useful stretch and improves my range of mobility, which is not possible for me to do for myself.

"It helps with overall comfort, mobility and general wellbeing. If you said I could no longer use it, it would be a significant loss – a backward step, so to speak!"


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