Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International

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Basic Beginning Exercise for Polio Survivors and More

David Guy, MS, CPT USA (ret). Guy is a retired physical therapist who has worked in multiple settings from the Army to universities. He has worked with polio survivors throughout his career. He now helps out with a polio support group in Arizona.

“Exercise admonitions: Take these exercises to your doctor and ask your doctor if it is all right for you to complete this routine.

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Non-Fatiguing General Conditioning Exercise Program (The 20% Rule)

Stanley K. Yarnell, MD (retired), California

The non-fatiguing general conditioning exercise program using the 20% rule was designed to restore stamina or endurance for those individuals who have continued to be bothered by profound fatigue following surgery, illness or trauma.

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PHI's Statement on Exercise for Polio Survivors

Advising all polio survivors not to exercise is as irresponsible as advising all polio survivors to exercise.

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Lighten Up - Rest, Pacing, and Timing

You probably fill your car's gas tank when it is one-half or one-fourth empty rather than waiting until it runs out of gas. Rest is the body's equivalent of refueling. If you wait until your body is running on empty, it may be difficult to get going afterward and you may be out of commission for a few days.

Many of us have coped with a disability by acting as though it doesn't exist. We ignore pain and fatigue and push on until we finish the activity or drop from exhaustion. In the long run, we accomplish less and feel worse.

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Pacing

As a person with post-polio syndrome, one of the fundamental self-care guidelines that I use to conserve physical energy and avoid fatigue is to rest regularly throughout the day.

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Lifestyle Changes

Making certain lifestyle changes is reported by polio survivors as the most effective treatment for the late effects of polio (Yarnell, 1998). Almost everyone who adopts such changes achieves some relief of symptoms (Westbrook & McIlwain, 1996).

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