A disability shouldn’t prevent you from exercising (unless you’ve been ordered by a doctor not to). Most people with disabilities are able to participate in exercise, and like everyone, should exercise to maintain their health, well-being and quality of life. However, due to physical limitations it can be confusing to determine where to start and how to safely exercise. Try these steps to help you get started!
- Talk to your doctor before you begin.
- Let her/him know you’d like to exercise and be sure they give you clearance to do so. He/she may offer guidance to help you get started.
- Create a plan for exercise. A well-rounded exercise routine will include cardio, strength and flexibility exercises.
- Determine your fitness goals. What are your goals for exercise? Your reasons for exercising will help you determine where to start and help you track your progress.
- Choose exercises according to your abilities and goals. Examples include:
- Wheeling yourself in a wheelchair
- Wheelchair stretches
- Water aerobics
- Hand-crank bicycles
- Adaptive sports
- Chair yoga
- Chair aerobics
- Seated strength training exercises like these or these
- Start slowly. Once you’re ready to begin, get to it! Be sure to go at your own pace and don’t overdo it. Start slow and gradually build your strength to avoid accident or injury.
- Include recovery days. Recovery days are necessary for everyone. On average you should plan to get 1 to 2 days of recovery time per week.
- Avoid being sedentary. Any activity is better than none!
- Choose exercises according to your abilities and avoid inactivity. For more articles and activity ideas, click here.
- It can be beneficial to work with a trained exercise professional while getting started.
- Stick with it! You may experience setbacks along the way, but keep going!
- Build yourself up over time to exercise at least 150 minutes each week.
For Health Advocate members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, call us today to connect with a Wellness Coach for more exercise guidance and fitness tips.