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Ataxia UK
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has anyone experienced using weights to help with balance, either on leg or body.

my 15 yr old son has CA, his balance is getting worse, started using wheelchair more often but i'm keen for him to walk as much as possible. i remember reading somewhere about weights helping with balance. anyone experienced weights to help with balance.

11 Replies

I have heard that weighting limbs really helps some people.

My friend Kati, on another forum (Living With Ataxia) knows a lot about them. I would ask her. She is very knowledgable about a great many things. I found a sort of relevant topic


Hope this helps.


'Our kati' is something of an expert and she did find using weights etc helped her.


hi lindadoc

i am in exactly the same position so i wear army boots as every day shoes. these work in the same way an astronaut might wear them on the moon. I find them very useful. I think of myself as a tuning fork thats vibrating - and the more clothes i can pack on the better )


In addition to the army boots (without laces) I wear heavy grain trousers to desensitise my skin and reduce my brisk reflexes.

It's a good idea to loose some weight too to maximise your power to weight ratio.

Army surplus shops again, supply everything you need.


Very strange,always noticed that if I am carrying a heavy weight my balance is more secure,yet striving to keep my body weight down has also made big improvement (lost 1.5 stone in last year).



I too find a shopping bag or whatever helps me

I would suggest a specialist neuro physio

I was introduced by a neuro physio to a balance cushion, like a semi blown up cushion, you stand on it with bare feet and you try to balance. Near impossible at first but within one minute your brain figures it out and balance on the cushion gets easier. It strengthens your leg muscles and helps overall balance. Use someone to gently hold you whilst doing this or you could fall. It works for me


i have had ca for over 20 years and take adults with various disabilities to the gym twice weekly. the idea is for me to instruct safe transitions from wheelchair, fitness, nutrition and general health and well being. to be honest i get the most out of it as it keeps me concentrating and yes i still walk like a fish , slurr my words and im apparently drunk most of the time but i suppose it helps with strength and focus. unfortunately it sometimes gives to much confidence and i have broken my leg recently



Yes I used quarter pound weights on my arms. I also got a Sensory balance belt shipped from US to help with keeping balance standing and used it with the Wii Fit balance board. It did steady me but only whilst wearing them.

I discovered later the 'Forced Exercise' theory that was used with some patients who had involuntary movement (Dyskinesia) as part of Parkinsons and I have been following that with some success. The difference being the effects last longer. I have less intention tremor of hands and can write a little again, not as neat as I used to but can manage my signature or short shopping list (though can't stay on lines of lined paper) or writing a card.

I'm teaching myself drawing skills again using the XL version of Nintendo DS and the Art Academy game. I found biggest stylus I could find (like a pen) and put foam around it to help with grip. I hoped to do more painting but my art desk fell apart recently so a new table is on my shopping list for the January sales!!

Tracing is a good exercise and Tracing paper can be bought cheaply and placed over either a page of words or something to draw.

Another trick is forearm splints but with the metal over the top of the arm/hand rather than underneath it, it gives a similar effect to someone lightly putting the weight of their hand on yours as you use your hand.

I've also lost 3 and half stone since last June (2011) and have noticed less muscle pain and fatigue, whether thats from the exercise or the weight loss I'm not sure.



Where did you get the sensory balance belt from? as I would like to try one.


Hello Linda,

I have been using weights for a while to help with balance.

I wasn´t too happy with those,. though.

Ever since I´ve been using rollators ( indoor & outdoor )

I´m feeling safer a lot



Sensory belts from here..what weight you need depends on your body weight there is a chart on there.


It helps whilst it's on, however I found the Passive Trainer pedals have helped more as the effects last longer but with a combination of both I can still do the standing games on Wii fit (basic leaning left and right with zimmer frame behind to hold onto)

Note that if you have frame in front , it sometimes blocks the signal from the infra red sensor and the game can't 'find you' on the board.


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