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Ataxia Support

Working with weights

Hi,
Has anyone here had experience wearing weighted garments, belts, vests or just wrist or ankle weights. I know there is a weighted balance vest but I am looking for something simpler, less expensive, and more accessible.

Thanks,
Doree

Hi Doree,

Yes, I use ankle weights as part of physical therapy in the swimming pool (2.5 pounds per ankle) and a flotation device to help me to walk in the swimming pool. I didn’t want to wear the weights at first, but it actually makes my therapy easier, as I was fighting before to stay upright in the pool.

When the therapist was still trying to use a walker (or rollator) they would weigh the rollator down with weights by strapping the ankle weights to it, I think they actually used 7.5- 10 pounds. This seems counter intuitive, but actually created a good bit of stabilty for me rather than trying to control a light walker while my body was also unstable.

A third option, that is easier for me to incorporate into my daily existence, is that I picked up on a pair of second-hand boutique doc marten boots that weigh about 2.5 pounds each. They have a wide base, and really keep me planted on the ground. The therapist is trying to work me a little on lofstrand crutches, because my gait is too wide for the rollator. So she loves the doc martens because they really keep me grounded. When possible, I recommend any such shoe that will keep you planted to the ground. I suggest just going to try on some docs to see what I mean, and then trying on some other heavy brands.

I think that the weighted balance vest is nice, but If you have a sewing machine, you can do the same with the weights from ankle weights and a vest and a bit of experimentation.

I hope this helps,

Rawr Rawr

1 Like

:slightly_smiling_face: Early on with ataxia, I often felt as though I bobbed along like a balloon on a string. Had I been diagnosed at that time I’ve no doubt I would have benefitted from weights.
Nowadays, I’m finding my rollator (which was adequate when I got it years ago) is really too light because ataxia has progressed. My balance is worse and I need something ‘weightier’ to be confident and safe.