Friday, July 31, 2015

ALS Exercise: Use RESETS From Original Strength

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Original Strength and their unique fitness training system. Why? Because it fits all bodies - - even if you have ALS. So it was a great thrill when I was invited to write a guest article for their blog site.

I began using the Original Strength exercises during the first year of my ALS, and credit them for helping me maintain my core strength and joint range-of-motion over the past five years. Although moderate regular exercise is recommended for PALS (people with ALS) there's no real consensus about exactly "what" to do. I found the exercises offered by Original Strength to be gentle, easy to learn, adaptable and they produced the results I wanted: to help my balance, my strength, my range-of-motion feel better.

What are Resets?
The Original Strength system is built around a series of movements referred to as RESETS. These are the fundamental movements that we all first experienced as infants. RESETS follow a baby's natural physical evolution from a belly wiggle, to lifting the head while arching up, to rolling over and finally crawling.

When adults perform RESETS, we're strengthening the muscles of our core: shoulders, chest, stomach, diaphragm, and upper-mid-low back areas. We are also firing up our brain-motor neuron pathways as well as the system that controls our sense of balance.  ...all good things for PALS!

My favorite RESETS are: rocking, rolling, arching up and baby crawling - - a mighty four that are an essential part of my daily routine!

RESETS are usually practiced right on the floor, as demonstrated in the "how to" videos below. If getting down on the floor isn't an option for you - - use your bed instead! A bed that's size 'double' or larger, and has a fairly firm mattress is a safe and accessible surface for practicing most RESETS.

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Arching Up
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Baby Crawling

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A Lighter Version
Here's a super-easy beginner series that you can do while lying in bed:
  1. On your back: draw both knees up to the chest and place hands on your knees. Slowly rock knees and hips right and left. Repeat 8 times.
  2. Extend the legs and slowly roll over to your stomach. Return roll to your back. Repeat 4 times.
  3. Roll to your stomach and prop yourself up on your forearms. Look right, look left then down and up. Repeat the head movements 2 more times.
  4. Place hands under shoulders and push yourself back and up to a hands-and-knee position. Gently rock forward and back within a range that is comfortable for your body. Repeat 4 times.
  5. Slowly return to lying on your stomach, roll to your back and finish with a few deep breaths. 
Want to learn more? Go to: 
Now that I've introduced you to my favorite fitness routines for ALS, what do you do to maintain your fitness? Was today's article helpful to you? What did you try and how did you like it?

Dagmar Munn
ALS and Wellness Blogger

"See physical fitness as a practice, not a goal."

Terri Trespicio

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  1. Diagnosed with ALS this past June, I have found your website, book, and You Tube exercises most helpful. I'm a former race walker and yoga teacher (emphasis on drawing inspiration from Egoscue to combine postural awareness with the classical yoga of India--deep focus on the breath, so now relegated to a rollator I've gained courage and inspiration from your beneficial offerings regarding movement and a positive attitude. THANK YOU, DAGMAR! All best, Liz Cunningham

    1. Thank you Liz! I too referenced Egoscue techniques early in my ALS and continue to use several of them now. Yes, postural awareness is key throughout. Your history as a race walker intrigues me as walking (with a rollator! grrr) correctly is my current study. Feel free to email me (on my contact me page) - - would love to correspond with you :-) Stay strong-Stay tall! :-)


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