Updated: Apr 3
So here we are in 2019, a fresh page and a new opportunity to start over. If you are one of the many who have decided to set themselves a fitness or health related goal such as; “To get in shape”, “To be fitter”, “To exercise more”, “To lose weight” there is no better time to commit to making this goal a reality by the end of the year.
Exercise is important for everybody, including individuals with a disability. It can:-
Improve stamina and muscle strength,
Be used as part of a programme to combat stress, depression and anxiety as it increases endorphins
Provide an opportunity to meet new people
Leave you feeling more energised
Provide a sense of freedom
Improve quality of life
In some cases, exercise can prove crucial in overcoming certain disabilities. For example; where the vestibular system has been damaged, exercise is known to help in keeping symptoms at bay.
Whilst setting exercised based goals with a disability may seem more challenging, daunting and overwhelming, in recent years, there has been a move within society around health and fitness and with it a shift to make exercise more accessible than ever. There are plenty of options to tickle your fancy and ways in which exercise can be adapted to meet your needs. For example; wheelchair racing, yoga, thai-chi, snow sports, swimming, basketball, weight training, bodybuilding, basketball, martial arts, horse-riding, cycling, athletics, archery, angling, volleyball, dance classes. The opportunities when it comes to accessible exercise are endless.
So if you are keen to start and work towards your fitness related goal; here are some tips to help you achieve your goals this year:-
1. Know your why:
First of all, you need to know why it is you want to “get fitter”, “lose weight”. Perhaps you want to feel more confident, to take part in a particular activity such as a marathon, to have more energy so you aren’t exhausted by the end of the day or to simply find yourself a new hobby to have something to do. I find it helps to write this down on paper so it is easy to refer back to it on days I’m just not feeling it in order to stay motivated.
2. Know your how:
In order to reach your goal, you need to know how and there are a few steps to this:-
The first important step is to speak with your doctor or other healthcare provides for guidance on ways to exercise which will meet your needs.
Consider the options you might like to try. There are three main types of exercise; cardiovascular exercise, strength training and flexibility training.
Research what’s available in your area. Here are some links found on the NHS website to get you started:-
A full list and the NHS article can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-active-with-a-disability/
Additionally, the following link may assist in finding an accessible gym near you:-
3. Know your support
Know who your support network is. Those people who will have your back and provide you with encouragement when things don’t go to plan or your results seem as though they are taking forever and a day to show. These people will keep you going and remind you of how far you have come since the start.
This could be support from a professional such as personal trainer or physical therapist who can assist you with developing and changing an exercise programme or a workout buddy to keep you accountable when you’re looking to flake out on a workout or simply support from your family to get on board with your fitness journey.
4. Be accountable and measure your progress
Set up a method of being accountable to yourself. This will depend on your goals, for me, I train for aesthetics (to build a certain look) so I check in with myself each week by weighing myself, taking certain measurements and photographs so I can look back and see the progress I’ve made. However, you may wish to keep a journal of the weights you are lifting each workout to look back and see how your strength has improved or log the miles you have run to see how your distance has improved.
5. And above all, remember….
Fitness is supposed to be fun so if you try a certain type of exercise and it’s not for you feel free to switch it up and try something else.
So there you have it, 5 tips to help you reach your fitness goals this year. Please feel free to comment with what goals you are intending to reach and what steps you will take to achieve them this year.
The Juggling Lawyer