Parallel bar exercises for physical therapy can help you when going through rehabilitation after a serious injury, stroke or other brain injury. The parallel bars are a great way to help you build strength and increase mobility in your legs and lower body. They can generally support a weight of 400 pounds and can be adjusted to heights between 28 and 41 inches.
- Balance with help from the parallel bars. The first exercises in parallel bar physical therapy promotes basic balance while standing. Grip the bars on either side and lift yourself up from your seat or wheelchair. Then, try to stand for a few minutes straight. If you don’t have that much balance and strength, try to stand for at least 30 seconds at a time. This exercise will help you get used to how it feels to stand on your own.
- Start walking forward. Physical therapy parallel bars are also used to help patients regain basic mobility, such as walking. Again, grip the side bars with each to help steady yourself. Then, take a step forward. A board can be placed in between the parallel bars near your feet to help guide you if necessary. At first, try to get at least a few steps, concentrating on balance and moving forward and using your upper body strength.
- Use the parallel bars to help you turn around. This parallel bar exercise for physical therapy will help you regain some coordination. The process of turning around will require you to let go of the parallel bars for a second or two. This means you need to already have the strength and balance in your legs to stand up on your own during that time. The physical therapist can be near you in case you need assistance.
- Start moving faster. Once you master the techniques listed, you can start increasing your speed on the parallel bars. A speed exercise can be as simple as a brisk walk, or in some cases a normal pace. This exercise will help prepare you for walking with an aid, such as a walker or walking cane, and help to wean you off of using the parallel bars to move.
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