What’s the most common New Year’s resolution for 2020? You guessed it. Exercise more. That makes sense, since, along with a balanced diet and good medical care, exercise is one of the most important components of physical and mental health. Though physical fitness is just as important for people with disabilities as it is for others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “children and adults with mobility limitations and intellectual or learning disabilities are at greatest risk for obesity.” Obesity leads to other health problems including: cardiovascular disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and gout. So, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Starting an exercise routine when you or your child has a disability can be challenging. So, we’ve put together some suggestions designed to help you get started. Here’s to a fit 2020!
Consult with your doctor
Never begin an exercise routine without making sure it is safe. Your doctor can help you to determine the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise that’s appropriate for you. Check in with the doctor before making any major changes to your exercise regimen.
Consider what types of exercise you might enjoy
Do you like water activities? Would you prefer exercising indoors or outdoors? Are you more successful working with a coach or therapist, or on your own? Selecting an exercise program that’s designed especially for you, will help to ensure success.
Many of us are more likely to stick with an exercise routine when we work out with a friend. Find someone who has similar fitness goals and you can encourage each other to keep moving.
Try something new
Too frequently, fears and insecurities prevent us from pursuing our goals. Adaptive sports such as skiing, basketball, skateboarding, horseback riding, biking and many more make it possible for people with mobility limitations to do things that they never dreamed possible. Visit disabledsportsusa.org to learn more.
Use fitness videos and audios
Many of us prefer to exercise in the privacy of our own homes. If that’s your preference, you can find many videos especially for wheelchair users on YouTube. Check out videos from KimNonStop or Lucy Wyndham-Read’s YouTube channels for some examples. For blind individuals, Eyes-Free Fitness offers exercise programs with non-visual cues and descriptions.
Take the Evolve 21 Challenge
The “first inclusive exercise app for people of all abilities,” the Evolve 21 Challenge (formerly known as the CPF Challenge) not only offers daily 7-minute routines of cardio, yoga and meditation, it’s also a fundraiser for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation!
Sticking with an exercise routine is tough for everyone. Chances are, they’ll be times when you just don’t have the motivation or will-power to work out. But staying fit isn’t about perfection. Rather it’s a lifelong process that leads to good health and well-being. If you fall off the exercise wagon, don’t give up! Get back on track as soon as you can!
We at Enabling Devices wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!