Ali Ingersoll is a complete C6 quadriplegic. She broke her neck whilst shallow water diving in 2010 at 27 years old. But this has’nt stopped Ali from remaining active and living life to the full! Amidst working full time and currenly planning her wedding celebrations she talks to us about remaining active as a fulltime wheelchair user.
Ali, TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE OF BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Exercising, just like eating right, takes discipline, determination, and commitment. I have always been physically active my whole life and when I broke my neck nothing changed. I just had to adapt my definition of being physically active!
WHAT ACTIVITIES/SPORT/EXERCISE DO YOU DO?
I don’t participate in any specific sports due to my severe osteoporosis, but I do exercise 1 to 2 hours everything single day. I have an RT 300 electrical stimulation bike which allows me to do electrical stimulation on my paralyzed muscles on bike at the same time several times a week. I have a machine called the vitaglide which is like an adaptive rowing machine that I strapped into and push back and forth, which gives me my cardio. I usually exercise on the vitaglide or to five times a week for 30 minutes at a time.
I also lift weights by strapping on wrist weights to my wrists and have a complete routine for about 30 minutes for my wheelchair. I also stretch four times a week in order to keep my muscles limber.
In the warm months as I live in Raleigh, North Carolina I swim one to two times a week, which is just the most incredibly liberating feeling being able to swim on my own, float weight loosely, and get out of my wheelchair.
WHAT DOES BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE MEAN TO YOU?
Being active means health, mental well being, enjoyment, involvement, contentment. Exercising for me has been ingrained in me since I was 12 years old, it’s a way of life, so it I just had to change the exercises I got involved in after my accident.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT IT?
Honestly, I don’t particularly enjoy working out, but I do it to stay healthy, activety reduce long-term complications of stiff muscles, joints, lack of muscle mass, etc.
WHAT WOULD MAKE PARTICIPATING IN SPORT/PHYSICAL ACTIVITY EASIER FOR YOU?
I think I have up pretty good routine, but I think it would be fun to do group activities. However, I have a full-time job, so I have to work in going to the gym as they say into my daily routine. I think very simple adaptive and inexpensive equipment such as wrist weights or simple hand cycles would allow more quadriplegics to stay physically active.
WHAT IS YOUR WISH LIST FOR SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
I am a great lover of swimming. I would love for providers to make beaches more accessible for people with disabilities.
WHAT MAKES PARTICIPATING IN SPORT/PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DIFFICULT?
The physical environment is always a challenge but it’s not just what’s available, but a state of mind.