Tagged with: disability exercise Physical Activity
Many years ago Reebok ran a great commercial based on Newton’s Laws of motion. The take away from that commercial was “A body in motion, stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest”. I wonder if Newton knew that within his statement was the perfect exercise prescription!
Why exercise? Everybody needs to partake in some time of regular exercise program so that they can maintain a healthy and functional body as they age. Regardless of whether or not someone has a disability, we all want to maintain our independence as we get older – and the only way to ensure that is with a regular exercise program. Exercise is not punishment (as some of my clients believe) nor is it only for those people who ‘have something wrong with them’ (another client quote).
One of the most common questions that people ask when beginning a fitness program, is “How much exercise do I need to do?” The American College of Sports Medicine and The American Heart Association recommend that adults do some form of moderate cardiovascular activity 30 minutes a day (5 days a week) as well as a strength-training program 2 times a week. That may seem like a lot of time to spend working out, but the good news is that the 30 minutes a day can be broken down into 10-minute mini sessions throughout the day.
Choosing the right form of exercise is an important decision. I encourage people to try multiple options and then choose the type of exercise that appeals the most to them. If you are not a big fan of going to the gym, walk or push your wheelchair around your neighborhood. If weather is a concern, go to your local mall and walk inside. Look around your house for common items like bags of rice or cans of soup – these make great dumbbells for strength training.
If you have certain physical limitations such as balance issues or use of only your upper body muscle groups, then its time to get creative with your fitness options. The swimming pool can be a great way to raise your heart rate while eliminating balance issues. Fast walking, aqua aerobics or swimming, are all excellent ways to raise your heart rate. If overheating is a concern, this will not be as much of an issue because you are in a pool. If you don’t like to sweat, then the pool is the place for you! Check your local YMCA or Parks and Recreation programs for a list of local pools near you.
Many cities have classes for specific disabilities; for example the M.S. Association hosts’ yoga classes and the Parkinson’s Foundation offers classes for people with movement related disabilities. Classes can be rewarding for people who enjoy a social connection to others living with the same challenges. Plus the added component of ‘peer pressure’ tends to make people more likely to show up for class!
Exercise should be fun and something that you enjoy doing! Find meaningful goals that enhance your sense of purpose and well-being. What do you do to stay fit?