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I’m becoming more sociable as a result of my training

“I'm becoming more sociable as a result of my training”

Roald Poulsen, a former football coach, has battled muscular dystrophy for over ten years. In his own words, he avoids impairment by training with a Combi Bike Plus, a mobility exerciser developed by Lemco Mobility in Elsinore, Denmark.

His own coach.

Despite suffering from a severe disease, Roald Poulsen, 71, who helped secure OB gold in 1989 as a football coach, still sets goals and maintains discipline in practise. Now, only he needs to receive training.

Roald Poulsen’s strength has been deteriorating due to muscular dystrophy for more than ten years. In the years 2009 to 2010, he served as the technical director of a football academy in Cape Town, South Africa, when the progressive illness made its entrance known.

– Suddenly I noticed that I no longer had the same strength in my legs when cycling while we were in South Africa, where I routinely cycled a lot in the mountains. When we came back home in 2011, I needed a replacement knee owing to osteoarthritis. After that, I realised the rehab wasn’t working at all. Despite my best efforts to keep myself physically active, things have slowly deteriorated since then. For example, after returning to Denmark, I cycled a lot, says Roald Poulsen.

From the road to the home

Cycling improved Roald Poulsen’s motor skills. However, about 4-5 years ago, he was unable to pedal on country roads.

When I had to go on and off the bike, I was unable to maintain my balance. Therefore, I had to come up with other alternatives. For instance, I frequently went spinning, but there came a time when I was unable to use the spinning cycle. After spending money on an exercise bike that didn’t work, I eventually discovered Lemco Mobility online in 2021 and acquired a Combi Bike Plus, says Roald Poulsen and continues:

– I use it routinely and set some performance targets.

The circulation must be kept going

Roald Poulsen sits in his room on a chair, exercising with the mobility exerciser. He works out for an hour and a quarter, doing interval training. It occurs three times per week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. So far, more than 150 sessions have been made. The routine is fully intentional:

– I use a heart rate monitor to record my heart rate and ensure that it rises. I stimulate both my central circulation (heart and lungs) and peripheral circulation (muscles), where blood transfers oxygen into the muscle cell itself, he explains.

Roald Poulsen, a football coach and professional teacher of Danish and sports who knows a lot about physiology and training, still has the self-control necessary to raise the pulse and engage the heart muscle, even though it hurts occasionally. Although the Combi Bike Plus’s display includes information on time, speed, and distance travelled, the number of kilometres travelled is not the main focus.

– Whether I travel five or ten kilometres, it makes no difference. That is not the decisive factor. The amount of time I invest and raising my heart rate are what matter, he says.

Fine-tuned resistance

Roald Poulsen exercises on the Combi Bike Plus in addition to adhering to the physiotherapist’s training regimen, which also includes strength training with elastic bands. Twice every week, he performs this. He seldom leaves the house because his balance is dependent on the wind, the weather, and his walker. He is thus pleased that he may practise with the Combi Bike Plus at home.

-Utilization is simple. Setting the resistance such that I can keep the cadence is simple. There is less cadence or rhythm if there is too much resistance. I don’t have a lot of strength, therefore I normally use a resistance of three, he says. Resistance on Combi Bike Plus goes from 0-9.

When he uses both arms and legs simultaneously, he makes up for his weaker legs with his arms, and the mobility exerciser’s design ensures that the pedals have an even thread. In order to maintain his level of energy, he plays music while training.

Flattens the curve

He tells about the outcomes of his mobility training:

– I am unable to provide evidence for it. However, if we make the reasonable assumption that exercise benefits us, we can imagine a curve that rapidly declines when we don’t exercise, and another curve that grows flatter when we do, he says and continues:

– And I’ve been exercising for the past ten years in the hopes of delaying my disability. I’ve also been able to do so, adds Roald Poulsen, who admits that it’s becoming increasingly difficult. He strives to flatten the curve in his twelfth year by training as much as possible.

– Because I can do something that causes me to sweat and breathe, the training benefits me mentally. Being challenged helps me, states Roald Poulsen.

For the family

Roald Poulsen’s muscular dystrophy is an incurable condition. Muscles and neural pathways weaken, but he continues to train undaunted.

– I also do it for my family’s benefit. If I’m allowed to engage in physical activity, I’m probably more sociable. But mentally, it is difficult to consider the possibility of a disabling disease that is drawing nearer. It doesn’t matter that it’s physically challenging right now, says Roald Poulsen og continues:

– Having a Combi Bike Plus has proven to be a positive experience. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had it for the past few years; it would have been completely wrong. I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

Both major and small muscles are affected by the condition, making every movement challenging. Occasionally, he is not even able to swallow.

– I’m not giving up, though. When I can’t exercise anymore, it’s because I can’t move anymore, he says.

Recommend it to others

Roald Poulsen has no reservations about advising other people with muscular dystrophy to use the mobility exerciser.

-It is the ideal instrument to train my circulation and more, as opposed to just sitting around doing nothing. The Combi Bike Plus uses some really solid technique, that makes it possible to move your arms and legs in rhythmic circles, he says.

– It ought to be used in all nursing homes and rehab facilities. Particularly in situations when some people have reduced mobility, he says.

Still football

Roald Poulsen, who was the latest champion coach for his hometown team as well as the national coach for Zambia, is no longer a frequent visitor to the games at Odense Stadium. He still manages to get outside on the lawn, though, with the aid of the walker, to coach a group of seniors.

– They are not chastised if they perform poorly. However, if they perform well, they may be replaced because others can step in and play, says Roald Poulsen.

The ball is in play.

Roald Poulsen exercising at home

Former football coach Roald Poulsen suffers from muscular dystrophy. His Combi Bike Plus is used to raise heart rate.