Before he ended up in a wheelchair five years ago, Charlie Wainman had led a very active life and loved to hike.
“After my spinal cord injury, I found myself just sitting at home doing nothing, isolated, getting worse,” Charlies says.
But since Charlie started working out at the MOVE Adapted Fitness & Rehabilitation Society of B.C., it’s been a game-changer.
“Just coming here for an hour or two just makes my whole day because the camaraderie and the like-mindedness of the people and the exercise equipment, which allows me to actually get the deepest exercise that I can for my physical abilities,” he says.
And Charlie’s not alone. MOVE has been growing fast and now has more than 175 members in Victoria.
“We’re a very specialized, adapted fitness facility and our goal is to give therapeutic exercise to people with physical disabilities,” explains MOVE Adapted Fitness & Rehabilitation Society executive director Alyssa Beaudoin.
Bernice Wong, who has been in a wheelchair all her life, started coming to MOVE a year and a half ago.
“I just needed to get more fit and I figured this was a good place to come to and it’s been awesome,” Bernice says. “The equipment, like, it’s modified for us no matter what our disability is and you can’t get that at a regular gym.”
There are also knowledgeable staff on hand to help, as well as dedicated volunteers.
“They’re great, wherever their background is,” Bernice says. “A lot of them are doing sports programs at college or university, so they’re keen to learn and help whatever way and it’s great for both of us.”
Exercise is incredibly important for people who have mobility issues. Not moving increases the risk of stroke, heart issues, and adverse health outcomes, but access to exercise can be a major issue.
“About 48 per cent of people with a physical disability don’t have access to physical activity just because there aren’t resources available to them,” Alyssa says. “Having a space to move your body is going to help prevent those issues from happening.”
That’s why the non-profit is holding its third annual MOVE Distance fundraiser from now until September 30th, challenging all Islanders to walk, run, roll, swim or cycle to raise money.
“The idea is that they will move 8 km, half a marathon, or a full marathon, which is 42 km, over that time and it’s adaptive to them, so small increments each day,” Alyssa says.
Charlie just hopes lots of people will take part or make a donation so MOVE can help even more people get fit, recover from a serious injury, and improve their quality of life.
“Seeing people that are worse off with you with a better attitude really is a humbling experience and very inspiring and so yeah, I’m really happy I found this place,” a smiling Charlie says.