Tagged with: awareness disability exercise fitness goals health inclusion life Physical Activity wheelchair
Having a disability can be difficult, but having a solid support group in your life can make the obstacles you face much easier to conquer. Friends offer a shoulder to lean on, an ear for listening, someone to laugh with, and the motivation to become your happiest and healthiest self.
Working out with a friend will not only make the exercise more enjoyable, it will- in turn- make your friendship even stronger.
Working out pushes us. It shows us just how much we can achieve physically, which can be both exhilarating and discouraging at times.
Whether it is with yoga, cycling, lifting, or running, we all have to start somewhere. When we begin a new workout routine, we have to set goals. In fact, this is true in every aspect of our lives. Having a friend there, someone for support, someone that you trust, will give you the extra push that you need in order to achieve your goals.
Working out with a friend will also improve your accountability, since cancelling would mean inconveniencing someone else. It can also help you avoid injury and expand your routine by learning some new moves.
Working out with a friend allows us to point out the specific places where we could personally improve. If you and your workout buddy have a disability, you can challenge one another from a similar playing field. After all, there is never any harm in a little friendly competition.
Perhaps you have a disability and your friend does not. Your physical differences should not stop you from participating in activities together. In fact, they should do the opposite. No matter who you choose to work out with, whether you are disabled or not, there will always be differences in your physical ability.
That’s the beauty of the human body. No two bodies are the same. This fact allows us to truly inspire one another. We can learn from our own unique situation and the situation that our friend faces. We can be moved by their courage and strength. Together, we learn how to be happy in our own skin, without comparing our own body types to someone else’s. Instead, we understand the differences. We appreciate our own strengths and we commend each other for the strengths we don’t posses.
Yoga is often responsible for this reflective mentality. Yoga is an accessible form of exercise, in which any body type or mindset can try and, with enough practice and dedication, one-day master. It can significantly benefit individuals with disabilities, or chronic health conditions, through both physical and mental work.
One of the major benefits of yoga and meditation is a greater self-awareness, which individuals with or without disabilities often lack. This is why practicing with a friend, and having someone there to discuss your progress, can be so helpful.
As a deeper sense of self-awareness grows, our compassion also grows, leading us to a happier, healthier relationship with life, with each other, with our disabilities and ourselves.
There are many different forms of yoga- from the more physically demanding kind such as Bikram Yoga, to the more mentally challenging aspect of Meditation. Meditation can reap positive benefits, whether it is paired with an extended yoga practice or other workouts such as barre, dance, kickboxing, or swimming.
It is believed that Zen meditation has the ability to illuminate the relationship between disability and identity, offering a greater purpose or lesson that is otherwise hidden from the disabled individual. Meditation is therefore used as a mode of treatment, building acceptance of our own physical limitations.
For example, meditation can help someone in a wheelchair release their personal frustrations over their confinement and learn the art of relaxation.
Meditation can also help build meaning in one’s life. In fact, it’s believed that Buddhism itself might actually learn from the experience of disability.
Meditating with a friend will bring you both to a place of stillness. It will offer peace and acceptance after a challenging day at the gym. It brings our attention inward, changing and improving our relationship with ourselves.
Similar to friendship, meditation shifts us away from our egocentric perspective, showing us that there is much more to contemplate in life than our own disabilities. It reveals our sense of purpose, and encourages us to forget about our failures or weaknesses. We can then forget about the people in the room that lifted more weight, or stood in tree pose longer, or ran faster.
Those things do not matter, and having a friend to work out with will help you understand this. What’s important is pushing our friends to reach their personal goals, and being there with reassuring congratulations when they accomplish what they set out to achieve.
Plus, it’s important to have someone willing and happy to return the favor, now that’s true friendship.