Frame Running popular among seniors

At the World Ability Sport Conference 20-21/10 in Edinburgh we focus on the impact Frame Running may have for both the youngest children and seniors who can´t walk or run independently. Through real people´s life stories, we like to inspire Therapists, coaches and researchers to clarify how Frame Running can be used in early rehabilitation and the life that follows a stroke or injury reducing function to stand, walk or run.

 

December is a special month for Lars. In December 2007 he had a serious stroke.
This December he turns 63 and still running strong!

I had a brain hemorrhage while out training for a marathon. I woke up like a boiled sloppy vegetable and couldn’t speak or move. I was hit hard, especially on the left side. After approx. 1 year I left hospital as a wheelchair user unable to walk. Then I could just sit there doing nothing…

In 2011, I heard about Frame Running Through my personal assistant and got a test ride on a PETRA Frame Runner by Connie Hansen. Even though I was nearly tipping it for every other step, it felt so good!

Soon after, I bought one myself and started in Randers Freja Frame Running club. Since then, my running style has improved a lot.

 

People of all ages come to the club, some are older like Jesper at 70 and others the age of my grandchildren. It doesn’t matter that many of them are faster than me, because to me running is just playing. Currently I run 2-3 times a week, and 3-5 km each time.

Senior male on a STORM RUNNER with arm supports

Lars on his STORM RUNNER with arm supports, straps and mittens

It is a challenge – not a problem!

My assistants and I love to find solutions when something is troublesome for them or me. As an example: A bar with an angle helps them lift my saddle into position. My spastic foot is held up w

Bandage and strap for drop foot.

Bandage and strap for drop foot.

ith an elastic band. I just got a little more support for my upper body and arms. Now I run freely, and my STORM RUNNER does exactly, as I ask it to. I feel as one with it.

In the last year, I have lost 17 kg. by running and holding back with sweets. Now it is much easier for me to get in and out of the wheelchair. Yes, and I haven’t had any strokes since 2007. I think doing frame running has helped!

Coming to the training in the club and talking to the team members means a lot to me. And for them, I think. As an example, Jesper invited everyone in the club to his 70th birthday. It was a nice evening and really fine of Jesper to invite us all for his 70 years birthday.

 

FRAME RUNNER Helmi, aged 82,
is as tough as the western winds by the dunes of
Northern Jutland and as joyful as the summer sun!

Helmi on PETRA Frame Runner

Helmi on PETRA Frame Runner

Helmi could not come to terms with her limited walking ability, fearing falls and injuries. In her search for a solution, she found Aalborg Frame Runners Club. Already after the first run, she was taking longer steps and found herself sitting up straight in her seat instead of slumping like a sack of potatoes.

After three Saturday runs in the stadium where she ran 2 km. each time, she knew that she had found a key to get better. She was excited and knew that the Frame Runner was exactly what she needed to increase her mobility and to restore the muscles of her legs. She realized then that the Frame Runner wasn’t only training her legs, but it was strengthening her WHOLE body.

As she wanted to use the Frame Runner in her hometown, the trainer suggested her to contact ‘BY CONNIEHANSEN’. Connie very kindly gave her a three month’s rental agreement on a PETRA FRAME RUNNER until she could find some funding for it.

 

HELMI´s FRAME RUNNER JOURNAL

The FRAMERUNNER is provided by Connie Hansen. Delivered to my home in Lønstrup on June 13, 2023. The bike was specially adapted to me, i.e., handlebars, saddle, breastplate. There were four ladies’ saddles in different widths and degrees of softness to choose from.

 WORKOUTS:
Day 1: The first run. Surprised that this model is so much lighter than the models I tried at the Frame Runner club at Aalborg Stadium.

Day 2: I ran 2 km. I used my legs in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. I took long steps. It felt like I was flying. I felt like Puss in Boots, which features a cat in boots from English children’s literature who takes giant steps.

Day 3: I only ran a little today, because the saddle gave me blisters.

I contacted Connie who said she would send a softer and wider saddle by post.

Day 4-5: Several short runs and walks. Approximately 2-3 km each way. Surprised that I already feel safer on my feet. My right hip does not dip downwards as much as before. This, I think, has a big impact on my balance and gait. I also notice that I take longer steps when I walk around in my house.

Day 6: Rest day. Even so, I feel better today. Taking longer, more confident steps!

Helmi-on her way to the beach

Helmi-on her way to the beach

Day 7: I received a new saddle plus cycling pants in the mail. The cycling pants are lined with foam rubber that corresponds to the shape of the saddle. It makes a big difference in comfort.

I must find someone to change the saddle for me. I can’t do this by myself due to my damaged hand. (I fell in my garden on February 20 and seriously injured my hand. The doctors suggested fixating it with surgery, which means that I will be stuck with the handicap of a hand with no movement. I said “No, thank you!” and am now being treated by a physiotherapist, who believes that the function of the hand can be improved, but that it will never be 100 percent as before.)

Day 8: A longer run along the coastal path all the way to Harrerenden winding my way between the summerhouses. Downhill most of the way, but, oh dear, the return trip is uphill! As I can’t ‘run’ up the hill, I am forced to ‘walk’, which I feel takes forever, as opposed to when I “fly”. (A week later I discovered to my surprise that I could run all the way up that hill and wondered at how easy it was).

I must try to measure the distance, so I know how far I run. Right now, it’s a guess.

Day 9-10: Several small runs and one of 3-4 km.

Day 12: (mid summer’s eve): I haven’t been able to walk on the beach since before my legs

were paralysed even when supported by others, or my canes, but today, I walked on Lønstrup beach with my hand on my daughter’s shoulder – all of 20 meters through lo ose sand and down a slope.

The impossible has suddenly become possible for me!

Day 13: Today I was overwhelmed by fatigue, and, for a while, I stood looking at the bike and was tempted to go indoors

and lie down on the sofa.

I knew, that were I to do that, I would probably sleep for a few hours and wake up groggy and then not get on the bike that day. With energy that I didn’t have, I got out the bike and rode off. What happened next was astonishing. My brain was oxygenated and soon I felt fresh and wide awake. This resulted in a trip of 5 km.

Later that evening, I ran an extra 2 km. What a victory! Usually, the day is wasted when fatigue takes over (and

I’ve had plenty of those), and I tend to end up sleeping most of the day and getting nothing done, thus giving way to a feeling of hopelessness and a sense of inadequacy.

After the trip, I thought: “NOW I’M SUPERGIRL!”

June 25: As I speed along on my Frame Runner, I get a sense of freedom. I experience a wave of joy that seems like champagne bubbles coursing through my body. I even sleep better at night!

This is in stark contrast to my basic physical and mental condition, which is a sense of exhaustion and inadequacy, combined with the fear of being trapped in a body whose condition cannot be improved upon, no matter how hard I work at it.

So far, I have had to remind myself that I should be grateful that I can walk at all (thanks to a year of training with an excellent physiotherapist) and just be content with things as they are, but I want more. And thanks to my Frame Runner, more is happening…

 June 29: Progress is faster than expected. I forgot my sticks when I went to the art gallery, KUNSTEN, in Aalborg. A moment of panic when I got out of the car, and then I had to move on. It went surprisingly well. When I got home, I took a nap for an hour, after which I ran two km on my Frame Runner.

July 12: Had four days of rest in the last nine days. Partly, because I wasn’t at home and partly because of the wind and rain. But I have a good conscience, as Connie has emphasized how important it is to have a day of rest every now and again in order for the body to recover. I feel, however, that the breaks must not last longer than two days, as I seem to lose condition, even if it is quickly restored.

Today I tested the safety of my Frame Runner and I found that it was impossible for it to topple or tip over. I think it has something to do with the wheels being angled slightly in wards.

Second and third month: Since then, the balance between training and recovery has been good, so to go into more details would be mere repetition. Instead, I have made a summary of my progress so far.

SUMMARY AFTER THREE MONTHS OF TRAINING WITH A FRAME RUNNER

Longest trips: 8-9 km. shortest trips: 10-15 minutes on bad days – a little is better than nothing.
Average: 2-5 km. The benefits of training with a Frame Runner are not only physical, but also psychological.

Woman on Frame Runner on a beach, by Photograph Irene Mikkelsen

Fredom of running

  • More muscle strength assists with balance, which increases stability,
    which results in improved safety, which reduces the risk of serious falls –
    of which I have experienced several in the past.
  • During the last three months, although I have stumbled now and again –
    but much less than before – I have gained the strength to prevent a fall from happening;
    and this is of utmost importance!
  • I can now get up from the floor unaided. Amazing, when you consider that prior to this,
    it would not have been possible without the assistance of two people.

With my feet propelling me forward on the tarmac, and with the wind in my hair, my lungs are put to hard work. And it is then that the miracle happens. I gain the energy I need in order to be productive, happy, and confident.

I did allow some time to pass before applying to the municipality and various foundations for funding, as I feel that, I had to have proof that the use of the Frame Runner, during the short period that I have used it, is of great benefit to me.

However, my physiotherapist told me recently that the municipality is already working on my case. She can see this from my medical record.  That’s probably why I haven’t heard from anyone yet.

 

In my applications, I wrote that the results I’ve had from the use of the Frame Runner were nothing short of amazing and that I need a Frame Runner for continued training in order to improve and maintain fitness in a way that only a Frame Runner can. I felt that without this documentation, it might be difficult to convince them.

 

Helmi on her PETRA Frame Runner

 

“Now that my three months’ rental period has ended,
I am determined to own the Frame Runner –
one way or another”!

That’s why my slogan now is:

Don’t sit on the couch and cry!
Get on the Frame Runner
and learn to fly!

Helmi Sølvsten Jensen