KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops man's creation is providing a new way for people with mobility challenges to get in exercise and retain movement.
The Wallgym started out as Antonio Ramunno creating his own exercise equipment for physiotherapy.
Today, the unique set-up is giving others with mobility issues in the community an opportunity for more independence.
"We got a new fresh start. It's like a totally other life right now."
After a motorcycle accident in October of 2014 left him paralyzed from the chest down, Ramunno has come a long way in his recovery — now able to stand up.
"With this Wallgym, I know it doesn't sound like a whole lot, but I can put on my own jacket. I can go outside anytime I want," he explains. "You know, most people in my condition, they don't have a whole lot of mobility with a C5 injury."
When his physiotherapy appointments ended, Ramunno says he decided to take his body's rehabilitation into his own hands and came up with the Wallgym.
"I couldn't find a piece of gym equipment cheap enough or small enough to fit at my mum's house, so that's how I came up with the idea for the Wallgym," Ramunno explains.
The three-foot wide system attaches to walls, with a variety of resistance and weight training options attached.
"With my legs, I stand at the bar, I can do weight shifting, I do heels lifts, I do toe lifts," he says. "I work on my balance, with my chair right behind me and my solid bar in front of me. I just go to town."
Along with bringing a whole new kind of mobility, the set up also gives users a chance for more independence, with less care aid assistance needed in day-to-day tasks.
"Now, I can get up, with my walker I can go to the couch, I can transfer vehicles. It's done wonders for me."
The system has already been put in the YMCA / YWCA's John Tod Centre, along with the Heavy Metal Gym.
"With the elderly, it's awesome. And people with MS, with their balance affected, just standing at the bar can help your balance," he explains. "We've been to the Hamlets out in Westsyde, we've just built a stand so now I can do demos. So we're going to start bringing it around doing demos, and trying to promote the Wallgym."
Now Ramunno is aiming to expand his business and bring the space-saving, affordable exercise option to the rest of the community.
"Work BC was really good to me, same with Community Futures," Ramunno says, "and you know, of course my mum (who is) a rock. I could not have done this without her, she's been a real inspiration."
In the years to come, Ramunno hopes to continue using that passion for building and have his creation help other people gain strength.
"I'm going to help others. I'm going to try,"
The Wallgym resistance training is based at 106 Tranquille Road, and Ramunno can be reached via email at [email protected]
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