Living Well: Fit For Life Helps People With Spinal Cord Injury

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A grant funds a new program that’s helping people with spinal cord injury get access to accessible fitness equipment. It’s called Fit For Life and it’s helping patients overcome barriers.

With determination, James Eason, 38, works towards his goals in the weight room.

“I really just wanted to get healthier and get more motivation,” says James Eason, Fit For Life Program Participant.

Motivation morphed into confidence. He works closely with 10 Fitness Personal Trainer, Kathy Wheeler.

“[I] Lost about 30 pounds or so just working out and gained a lot more muscle, a lot more stamina just from cardio workouts,” he says.

James had a spinal cord injury in 2002. It has limited what he can do at the gym, but a new program called Fit For Life provides equipment tailored to his needs.

“We’re able to take the seat off so they can pull their wheel chair right up to the machine and they’re able to get a good cardiovascular workout,” says Kathy Wheeler, Personal Fitness Trainer.

“[We’re] figuring out all different kinds of ways and varieties of doing extra exercises or workouts,” explains James. “We’ll just modify it.”

Baptist Health partnered with fitness centers to launch Fit For Life last year, in an effort to educate and train patients with spinal cord injury.

“You may have a disability, but I’m not going to let that hold you back. You know I want to help you succeed and I want to help you get stronger,” says Kathy.

James is putting in the work and seeing results.

“I do a lot of transfers from truck to chair to bed to couch you know, so it’s helped a lot with my triceps muscles,” says Eason.

He credits the program that’s now helped him get around easier. Kathy couldn’t be more proud of the challenges he continues to overcome.

“He’s healthier and happier since we’ve been training together and just stronger,” she says.

The Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute plans to use the grant to build a wheelchair obstacle course on its campus.

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