Welcome back to “A Nu You: Maximizing Life with a Disability!” Today’s topic is exercise and fitness, which we all know are very important to maximize anyone’s life, whether you have a disability or not. Normally our reaction to exercise or just the thought of exercise is, “Ugh! I gotta get changed. I am going to get sweaty. Too much work. I don’t have the time. I am going to be tired and sore in the morning. What’s the use?” Do any, if not all, of these excuses sound familiar? Generally, most of us do not like to work out and create excuses not to. We like the results and good health that exercise provide us, but we don’t want to do the work to get there.
To get over this hurdle, we need to remind ourselves of how exercising will make us FEEL…not necessarily immediately following the workout, but either in the short term or long term. We must remind ourselves of the weight that we want to lose, that wardrobe we want to wear, the stamina we want to have through the day, and most importantly, that knowingness that we are taking care of ourselves.
To help us better understand the importance of exercise and fitness while living with a mobility disability, I interviewed, Karyn Baig, a licensed physical therapist and certified yoga teacher. “There are greater risks of cardiovascular complications with people with mobility issues. The loss of lean mass affects your metabolism and makes you very prone to significant weight gain and sometimes obesity. You have to find ways to move.”
Getting to the gym and having a trainer would be ideal, but there are effective workouts that you can do at home if you physically can’t get to the gym. Some people can do work with Therabands, dumbbells, chair push-ups and even a tabletop ergometer. You gotta put the “fun” in “functional.” Find a way to enjoy your workouts, hopefully with another person. The Wii is a great workout that helps you to get a good cardiovascular workout and can put you in a great social position with family and friends.”
Yoga is a great complement to a regular exercise routine. “We need to cool it down from time to time," said Karyn. "Stretching out tight tissue due to spasticity can really help people with mobility disabilities. Adaptive yoga can certainly help and should be integrated into one’s daily routine. Yoga is a great stress reliever and relaxer.”
Karyn has helped me to identify our Nu challenges when it comes to exercise and fitness.
- Incorporate yoga or adaptive yoga into your daily routine. “If you can breathe, you can do yoga”
- Exercise daily – 30 minutes per day at a minimum
- Get outside and exercise…swimming, wheelchair sports, handcycling, etc.
As always, if you have any comments or questions regarding today’s topic, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Until our next blog, in which we will be examining the tremendous benefits of socializing out-of-the-house as well as online, continue to work on creating “A Nu You,” and enjoy the journey!