Achieving a Great Fitness Regime With a Physical Disability
More than half of American adults with a serious disability that makes it difficult to walk or climb stairs report doing no aerobic physical activity. Consequently, adults with disabilities are three times as likely to have heart disease, diabetes, strokes or cancer compared to adults without disabilities.
Great Fitness Regime With a Physical Disability
There are always ways that people with physical disabilities can exercise, and it’s important to focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t, as this will help you to put together a fitness regime to suit you and get you the results you’re after.
Find a personal trainer who can help
Finding a personal trainer who can put together a fitness plan tailored to you is a great place to start. Ideally, you need to find someone who has experience and training in working with people with physical disabilities, as they’ll know the best ways to help you achieve your goals.
For example, if your overall goal is to lose weight and improve your health but you’re a wheelchair user, a personal trainer will know what equipment your local gym has to offer that can be used for cardio to suit you, or ways that you can effectively use weights to get your heart rate up.
They’ll also understand your limitations, so they won’t push you in the same way they would an able-bodied client: they’ll appreciate that there are some things you can’t or shouldn’t do.
Overall, it’s important for you to listen to your own body and have a trainer who can do the same with you.
Physical therapy to manage disabilities
In some cases, physical therapy can be used to help improve or manage symptoms of a physical disability, and it’s a great form of exercise in itself. Physical therapy routines are usually designed with a therapist specifically for you, and aim to improve or maintain your overall health, well-being and movement, where possible.
Physical therapy is used for a number of disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, mobility problems following a stroke or an accident, and muscular dystrophy. Cerebral palsy physical therapy can improve your self-reliance over time, as it is known to prevent joint dislocations by improving the body’s overall strength and flexibility.
Physical therapy can often be an ideal first step into exercise, as it gets the body moving, and helps you become fitter and stronger, ready for a full and more intense workout.
Find exercise classes to suit you
Finding local exercise classes that are aimed at people with disabilities is a great way to exercise as you’ll meet people in similar situations as yourself. The classes are likely to be run by someone with a disability or someone with a lot of experience, which can help you to feel comfortable, especially if you’re new to exercising.
A lot of classes will be aimed at people with a variety of disabilities, or you may be able to find one specific to your disability. Either will help you to exercise in an environment where there are realistic expectations, and adaptations have already been thought of to make it easy for you to exercise, regardless of your disability or fitness level.
There’s nothing to stop you from joining in with a regular fitness class either, but it’s always a good idea to speak to the instructor beforehand so that they can come up with adaptations to suit you.
Fitness should be an important part of everyone’s life to promote good health, regardless of any physical disabilities.
Focus on what you can do, and work with experienced trainers, instructors and physical therapists to reach your goals and achieve good health.
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