From time to time, we like to invite guests to share their perspectives here in our magazine. Today’s guest blog is written by JENNIFER MCGREGOR, co-creator of PublicHealthLibrary.org .–Ed.
Exercising for people with disabilities doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. With the right program, tools, and mindset, exercising can be just as fulfilling and effective for a person with disabilities as it can be for anyone else.
Before you get started, commit yourself to a plan made just for you. Whether you use plans from around the web to build your exercise regimen or enlist the help of a personal trainer, a plan that’s mindful of your range of abilities will keep you motivated and challenge you in all the right ways. Go at your own pace and record your progress along the way. Seeing your improvement on paper will encourage you to stick to your regular exercise routine.
From Therabands to arm cycles, the range of exercise equipment for people with disabilities is wide and varied. You might even be able to find some of this equipment in a gym nearby.
Therabands are elastic bands that use slow, controlled motion and tension as a strength workout. There’s plenty of other equipment out there for strength training for people with disabilities, including dumbbells and medicine balls.
But don’t forget the cardio! Arm cycles sit atop a table and are like bicycle pedals for your arms. Just this simple upper-body workout alone can get your heart rate pumping in no time.
Swimming is famous for its therapeutic effects. The lessened effect of gravity while in the water allows for a greater range of mobility, which is great for practicing movements that are difficult to do on land.
If playing in the pool and getting a little bit of exercise in at the same time sounds like a fun time to you, consider hiring a specialist in aquatic therapy. Whether you hire a trainer or go at it alone, make sure you’re swimming with other people around so you can ask them for help if you need it.
Don’t give up if you can’t run, swim, or lift weights. There are other fun exercises out there; all it takes to get active is an open mind and a willingness to try new things.
Perhaps you could check out the sports groups for people with disabilities nearby and join a sports team. Or if you’d rather exercise alone, you can perform regular stretches and seated exercises and still get all the benefits from group exercise.
Though people with disabilities may face an extra obstacle when it comes to exercising regularly, the vast amounts of exercise plans and equipment available to disabled people makes finding the perfect workout regimen a little bit easier. All it takes is an open mind, an exploratory attitude, and a determined spirit.
Jennifer McGregor has dreamed of being a doctor since she was little and is excited to be pursuing that dream as a pre-med student. She and a friend created PublicHealthLibrary.org as part of a class project with the goal of providing access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When she isn’t working on the site, you might find Jennifer studying at the campus library or enjoying some downtime with her dog at a local park.