Disability Fitness

Staying Fit with a Disability

Anyone with a disability will know the importance of staying fit. The less you have to work with, the more important it is for it to be fit. For instance, if you have one leg, it will have to work twice as hard, so if you allow it to become unfit, your ability to move around will be reduced even more. That’s not to say the effort to stay – or get – fit is easy. But it can be done, as many amazing Paralympians will testify to.

Your choice of ways to stay fit will essentially need to depend on your disability. Some disabled people cannot move from a wheelchair, but this doesn’t preclude them from partaking in some kind of exercise. You just have to find something you can do, and there will be help available from physiotherapists and occupational therapists as well as friends and family who will help and cheer you on.

It is possible that an exercise regime such as Pilates would be able to help you. It is meant to improve your core fitness and also helps the thighs, but it doesn’t do much for the arms or lower legs. Wheelchair bound people could probably benefit from arm exercises so that they can push those wheels around faster. Of course, the mere act of doing this at all is good arm exercise, but building up all your arm and shoulder muscles would be more beneficial. Back strength is also essential as that helps you to keep your balance.

Some disabled people may be able to do Yoga, so long as there was someone to help. It is wise to find a trainer who knows about your type of disability to ensure you don’t injure yourself. You also have to take particular care of your limbs if you wear a prosthesis. It is very easy to blister the stump of your leg when exercising vigorously. You need to start off slowly and gradually work up so that your skin can toughen up without blistering, otherwise there will be a delay while it heals.

Strength resistance can often be performed in a wheelchair, or on the bed if your physiotherapist shows you how to do it without hurting yourself. If you’ve gone through months in hospital, your fitness will be at an all-time low, so it’s important not to pull a muscle in your first attempts.

It will probably be tempting to forget all about trying to get or stay fit, but it is really important to keep at it. Exercise improves your fitness, circulation, and your mental health as well as your body. You get to meet other people doing the same thing as you and will likely make many good friends.