Hi Martin and all,
Though it is believed that I have had some form of ataxia for most if not all my life, it was only about five years ago that things started to get bad for me with falls and such. Then in 2009, after a fall at work that resulted in a bad knee injury, I was given tests and eventually told that I have ataxia. (I also suffer with fibromyalgia but that's another story!)
I had quite an active life / routine before my ataxia kicked in so to say. I would sometimes hike, swim or cycle in my free time and my work life was always active - early on I worked in a very physically demanding job in an industrial laundry, I moved to working in a shop and doing most delivery 'shifts' then I spent two years lifting large heavy timbers of up to four metres long by hand. in a warehouse job.
In short, I became very less active when the ataxia really took hold.
I have an exercise bike but can no longer use it safely - have fallen from it several times trying to get on or off. I used to go two or three times for hourly sessions to a local gym but there where staffing issues and timetable changes that have made it difficult at best for me to use the gym.
So what now?
I have recently bought one of those mini exercise bikes and use it while seated in a comfortable chair. I also use the bike (just a set of pedals with a fly wheel arrangement) on a table top so I can pedal with my arms. I also have an exercise step that I put in a doorway so I can hold the door frame as I do my steps. A lever spring piece of equipment is used for 'arm pushes' and I have spring grips to exercise my hands. I have sand filled wrist / leg weights that fasten around the wrist / leg to give resistance or weight as I do lifts / stretches. lastly, I do 'physio' exercises everyday with head tilting and neck rotation.
I too feel that sitting around doing nothing all day is probably a bad thing and have been told this is so by family, friends, my GP, neurologist and physiotherapist. They are all, of course, correct.
I cannot always do all of the twelve point exercise plan I made out for myself and told my GP about (she said it was a good plan) but I try to do at least some of it every day. On a bad day I do a minimal of the neck and head exercises and some stretching. On better days, I do up to an hour of the exercises on the plan. Also, though my walking continues to deteriorate, I try to go up and down our stairs a couple of times a day - even if it be slowly! We have a straight up through the floor lift in our house and I need to use it often but try the stairs when I feel up to it. I use a mobility scooter about town but always take my walking sticks and try to do a little walking with their aid.
Though there is nothing wrong with pushing ourselves now and then, I find the most important thing for me when exercising is not to over do it as this can have very real negative affects.
Keep well all.