We all know that keeping active is a great way to keep healthy both in body and spirit; eating well, living right and moving however you can all help to maintain that feeling of well-being we all strive for.
While some may equate having a disability with being unhealthy, in fact nothing could be further from the truth. People who are differently abled may not be able to do the same things as their friends or co-workers exercise wise, but it certainly should not exclude you from trying new activities all together. In fact, not exercising or eating right will lead you to an unhealthy lifestyle whether you are able bodied or not.
Exercise is great for all bodies, it gives us a stronger heart, helps to build stronger bones and muscles, helps in the quest for weight loss, improves circulation and coordination, can work to improve our mood, bust stress, makes us more flexible and helps with our mobility. When used in conjunction with not smoking and making healthy eating choices, staying active can improve so many parts of our lives, and you don’t have to be a star athlete to reap the benefits.
So how do you start to stay active when you have a disability? Really, the answer is that you take all the steps that an able bodied person would do, but you tailor them to fit your own needs. Everyone is different and if at first you don’t succeed, you do what the old adage says and you ‘try, try again’:
First, set a goal for yourself and make it something that is attainable. Second, use a chart to track your activity, and reward yourself when you reach your goal. If it gets too hard, never give up, but instead maybe tweak your goals a little so that you can feel good about achieving them, no matter how trivial they may seem. Third, seek support from family and friends. This may include having an exercise partner, or getting family members into your chosen activity. It’s always more fun when you have someone to share your goals with.
As with anyone, it is best to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime or new sport, just to make sure it is safe for your condition or limitations. Always start slow and don’t expect you’ll be an expert at your new exercise choice overnight. Things take time. It is also a great idea to research gyms and centers in your area that are accessible to all, that way you will feel comfortable right off the bat knowing that your disability won’t limit your ability to participate fully in your chosen activity.
Keeping active and healthy makes every aspect of our lives better. Just pick the right activity for you and you’re on your way to a better you, no matter your ability level.