I have begun attending an exercise class twice a week. All exercises are done while sitting. At least I can’t fall while doing these classes. Believe it r not it is a workout. I’m exhausted when I get home but I know I need the exercise. The classes r free at local YMCA. Taught by rehab specialist from local hospital. If u need exercise this type of exercise class “Sitter size” is a great option. I personally feel safer sitting right now exercising until I can build strength back up.

Sounds great! I will look into this at my local YMCA to see if they offer this class. I would love to attend if they do. Thanks

They r mostly older folks but other ages too

Planet Fitness is near me so I do the recumbent cycle or elliptical ( the one with no moving arms). My neurologist is big on recommending regular exercise.

There's not a whole lot one can do about ataxia or many of the movement disorders beyond taking care of oneself, maintaining good nutrition, flexibility, and strength. I can't compare myself to the disabled athletes, never having been in their league. And I definitely don't aspire to that level of dedication. But, some kind of exercise is even more critical to me now than my pre–SCA days. Not only does immobility reduce muscle mass and function, but there is also that 'aging' thing going on. "Use it or lose it", they say.

To that end, I depend on my Tuesday yoga friend and Earl, my personal trainer*. But I spend so much time by myself, it's easy to succumb to my minimal motivation given half a chance. There's always the excuse of safety first; no one around to hold me up or call 9-1-1, yada yada.

As my ataxia took me out of the customary mobility game, a fellow runner asked me if I was resentful or jealous of my athletic friends. "Not jealous exactly, but wistfully envious", I replied. Earl's a maniac about exercise. He may be a good role model, but he's not my benchmark. I'm happy to get out of a chair or off a toilet. His goal is fitness. Mine is independent functioning and injury prevention.

I can swim in Maui and enjoy that. But even in warm weather, putting on a bathing suit, getting down to the pool and opening the gate is an ordeal. Then there is the required poolside shower, awkwardly getting into the pool, and enduring the stares of other swimmers. I have to really want to go. However, I discovered Skeeter to be an easier home–based exercise buddy. She can't call 9-1-1, but she doesn't move when the battery power's off and she can keep my butt off the floor by providing a seat in case I fall backwards.

In our garage, I can open the door, breathe in the fresh air, feel like I'm outside, and still be sheltered from the rain. No need to get ready, since no one sees me and I don't go anywhere. If it's cold, I'm used to putting on more clothes. Blissful solitude! Put some music on my iPhone and exercise doesn't seem like such a chore.

Warrior pose–sort of

Sally Field Boniva pose

Upright yoga postures customarily either require someone to hold me up or something to lean against. Either way, it's laughable to watch someone with ataxia try. Skeeter doesn't laugh, but the important thing to me is that she is inanimate, so I can't hurt her in a fall.

I have free weights upstairs but actually had to buy a pair to use in the garage. It may seem duplicative and indulgent, but it's difficult to get down or up stairs carrying 2 five pound weights and remain upright and uninjured. My friends suggested I do squats with weights to strengthen my quadricep muscles. "OK", I thought, "I can do that." Another friend does "hovers" for her quad strengthening. No matter the variation, the goal is the same—use it or never get out of a chair by yourself.

Squat or hover


Combatting big butt

Combatting "Senior Hunch"

My stretch band, serves as a butt, hamstring, and arm exercise aid. As mentioned before, there is always the occurrence of the Senior Hunch** to minimize. I can hear my mother even now, "Watch your posture, Tam."

The lesson: I do suck. But..oh well...

* Previous post: Speak the Speech

**Previous post: Dueling Walkers

That's wonderful, PG!!! Doing chair exercises is a safe way to exercise when balance is compromised. Falling isn't my idea of a good time...,ha! Unfortunately, I speak from experience...,ha! I took a nasty fall in my kitchen and hit the back of my head on the corner seam of the lower cabinets last Friday. Presently, I'm sporting quite a lump and nine staples...,ouch! I get the staples out on the 24th. I also fell a year ago and hairline fractured my pelvis. Painful, to say the least! Therefore, I do chair exercises, as I have a high risk of falling. I also do a lot of things on the floor (leg lifts, light hand weights etc). Or, if standing, I ALWAYS hold on! Also, thank you for all the great exercise information, as I've never heard of Skeeter, Schumant! What a great and safe way to exercise! Yes, we must use it or lose it!!! ;o)


Thanks, PG, for sharing the news. I’m way into the sitting-down yoga and/or floor exercises.

Also, Schumant, I like how you mentioned the goal information: determining for ourselves if the seated-cise is for fitness-sake or for functioning-sake.

i joined a pool and i love it. its easier to exercise in a pool. any exercise is good but for me i'm always dizzy and i can't move my head around.


Maintaining some strength and flexibility is important for everyone (seated exercising is a great idea). More so for ataxians or those prone to falling. Nothing prevents falls, but being somewhat fit makes recovery easier.


If you are in USA and of medicare age, Healthspring has a Silver Sneakers program which they pay for. My step daughter is a trainer/instructor at a gym and teaches a Silver Sneakers class. Sh says some of her "students" do all of the exercises seated. Locally, you can use the Silver Sneakers card at Curves, I used to workout at Curves & wish I still could--didn't suffer from as many aches and pains when I did. CAn't seem to do therapist's excercise on regular basis. Know I should.

PG good for you taking care of your body so you don't get hurt while doing focused movements! I understand getting worn out. When I do Yoga 50+ (gentle) it takes not only muscle but brain power thinking of what part of my body to move then there are the muscles too! I commend you doing 2 day's per week! Go girl/guy. hahahahah sorry I can't tell from your photo or name.

That is exactly where I had to start out to be safe. In a few months I found myself being a lot stronger in daily life just working at focused movements and stretches.

Now I have been doing more balancing exercises without even standing holding on any chair. Totally on my own. Who knew I even could! :0)

I know there is something to Yoga! My instructor that I got to know pretty well gives me tips and repositions my body if I'm off any. She said learning to hold your body in the right form gives people a gage for holding the form in normal life! Even people that are in Wheel chairs etc.

I have been having problems following directions so I watch instructor n listen n figured out what to do.

After exercising so hard Tuesday I was pooped Wed. Last night couldn’t sleep good n had nightmares really weird. Still tired today. I’m going to have to figure out how to exercise without wiping myself out so bad. Makes me really mad to be such a wimp!!

I find I get "wiped out" easily even by going different places or trying to do more around the house. Keep on with the exercise, but allow time to rest during the day,too. Maybe a nap is in order on exercise days. I also can't sleep, even with sleeping pills, if I am too tired. Some days I am sleepy (tired) all day and still sleep well at night, other days I can't sleep at night if I sleep a lot during the day, Seems like at least one day a week I'm wiped out and useless--or at least useless than usual.

I know what u mean. This week has been a bummer for doing things. Just do what I have to n let the other go for now.

This is great!

I too work out. I'm not interested in becoming frail anytime soon. I do weight/strength training three times a week at home with bands and free weights. Just this week I was able to increase the weight after a year of using the same weight. I also use my treadmill 5-6 days a week. It has nice long handles for me to hold on to.

I love hearing about everyones victories.

Schumant, your photos are very helpful. I worked with my physical therapist for specific exercises and stretching that help me.

Fight the fight!

I go to a seated exercise class advertised for the over 65"s. But as it is designed to prevent falls and although I dont qualify by age I phoned them and after getting a report from my doctor saying it would help I was accepted. It is a free class (1 hour once a week for 1 year) run at our local sports centre with two qualified instructors per class so there is always someone to care for your personal needs. It is paid for by my local council.( I stay in the west coast of Scotland)

I have now had about 6/7 classes and it is great