Exercising with a disability

How People With Disabilities Can Stay Fit

How People With Disabilities Can Stay Fit

It is obviously more difficult for individuals with disabilities to get regular exercise, especially when the individual’s disability limits mobility. According to a report by the National Center of Health Statistics, the percentage of adults aged 18-64 that get no aerobic exercise is higher among individuals with mobility disabilities (57%) than any other disability type. For those with cognitive disabilities, the percentage was at 40%, while those with vision and hearing impairment had percentages of 36% and 33% respectively. Only 26% of individuals without disabilities get no aerobic exercise.

Such numbers are understandable. Barriers such as a lack of resources, inaccessible facilities, and the general fear of injury can dissuade many from engaging in physical activity. However, with the right strategies and resources, there are ways individuals with disabilities can transition comfortably into a routine of regular exercise. Here’s how.

Eat The Right Food

Maximize your workouts by keeping your body nourished enough for physical activity. Certain foods, like energy bars, yogurt, fruits, and whole grains, can help give your body the nutrients it needs to stay energized. If you don’t get enough food before an exercise session, you may enter your workout feeling lightheaded and sluggish.

You can also work with a dietician to help you determine which foods are best for workouts. Dieticians are especially helpful when your disability limits you to a specific kind of diet. By working with someone who understands your health needs, you can navigate your dietary restrictions and preferences to determine how to best maximize your diet for physical activity.

Look For Disability-Friendly Online Resources

The social media platform YouTube contains a great selection of disability-friendly videos. If you’re just starting out, you can look into Adaptive Yoga’s channel, which has an extensive library of yoga tutorial videos. Though most videos are designed for wheelchair users, many of their resources can help anyone with compromised mobility. The Fit5 Workout Series from the organization behind the Special Olympics also has a series of helpful videos that can help individuals with disabilities train in endurance, strength, and flexibility.

Find an Understanding Trainer

If you learn better through face-to-face classes, you can also seek help from a personal trainer or instructor that understands your situation. Look for personal trainers with certifications from organizations such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the National Federation of Personal Trainers, who were likely taught how to navigate physical activities for individuals with disabilities.

Individuals whose disabilities qualify them for Medicare enrollment may have an easier time looking for personal trainers that suit their needs. As shown by KelseyCare Advantage, Medicare Part C plans can offer their beneficiaries membership to fitness programs, which provide access to live fitness classes. Given that these fitness programs are partners of Medicare, their instructors are trained to accommodate the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, who are usually older adults and individuals with disabilities.

Go At Your Own Pace.

To avoid injury, it’s also important to stick to exercises that your body can handle. Build confidence by starting small and setting realistic goals. If you focus on what you can’t do instead of what you can do, you may end up getting discouraged.

Beginners can start with slow, low-impact exercises like walking, tai chi, water aerobics, and yoga. You can check ‘3 Beginner-Friendly Yoga Poses for Disabled People’ for poses that can help with physical pain. Once you’re comfortable with these poses and have successfully incorporated them into your routine, you can move on to more challenging movements.

Though both physical and environmental factors can create barriers to physical exercise, there are still ways for individuals with disabilities to stay fit. By following your own pace and making use of resources that take your needs into account, you, too, can stay fit. For more on disability services we have plenty of information here at Cogentica.

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