Functional Electrical Stimulation Exercise (FES)

FES participant at The Steadward Centre

What is the Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Exercise Program?

Our FES Exercise Program is designed for individuals who have paralyzed muscle that they are not able to exercise on their own. By placing electrodes on the surface of the skin, FES uses electrical currents to activate the paralyzed muscle.

This leads to the muscles performing functional movements that enable participants to use specialized equipment such as an FES Bike. Essentially, the FES Exercise Program provides people with paralyzed muscle (e.g., from a spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis) with a chance to participate in the exercise. Regular participation in FES exercise, which may assist in the prevention of muscle atrophy, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is used to cause contractions in paralyzed muscle, which means participants in the FES Exercise Program can be physically active by performing functional movements with specialized exercise equipment such as an indoor FES bike.

Electrodes are placed on the surface of the skin to cause muscle activation, which sends electrical currents to nerves supplying paralyzed or weakened muscles. This current delivers the necessary stimulation to elicit a muscle contraction with the purpose of providing functionally useful movements, such as cycling.

A National Leader

The Steadward Centre has a long history of involvement in FES Exercise. Since 1991, when the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society (SCITCS) donated the first FES Ergys bike in Western Canada, The Steadward Centre has been engaged in providing FES exercise programs for individuals living with paralysis through the use of two exercise modalities: cycling and most recently elliptical training. In the Fall of 2011, the program was expanded to include community sites within Edmonton. Currently, there are

How to Get Started?

To participate in FES, you will require a referral from your doctor.

An initial consultation/ screening is required. This can be completed through The Steadward Centre or at the FES community centre location of your choice. Please contact Lemmuel de la Cruz, APA Consultant for more information at tscafr@ualberta.ca or (780) 492-8339.

There are several options in Edmonton to participate in FES exercise. Please note that there are different support options available at each facility. We will gladly help you make an informed decision to meet your personal needs.

FES programs options in the Edmonton area:

The Steadward Centre for Personal & Physical Achievement,
1-670 Van Vliet Centre, University of Alberta 
Ph: 780-492-8339

Saville Community Sport Centre,
11520 - 65 Avenue NW, University of Alberta (South Campus)
Ph: 780-492-1701

Don Wheaton YMCA,
10211 102 Ave NW
Ph: 780-452-9622

Castledowns YMCA,
11510 153 Ave NW
Ph: 780-476-9622

For more information about Adult Fitness and Recreation

Lemmuel de la Cruz
E: tscafr@ualberta.ca
Ph: 780-492-8339