Exercise Tips for People with Disabilities

The champagne is put away and 2016 is officially under way.  The New Year’s Resolutions have all started.  Year after year, the most common resolution seems to always be centered around getting healthy – either dieting or exercising, or some combination.  But, what about people with disabilities?  Regular physical activity is known to be good for everyone, including those with disabilities.  So, make a resolution this year to be active.  It will help to keep you fit and healthy all year long.

Regular exercise can strengthen your heart, build strong muscles and bones, improve coordination, relieve stress, improve your mood and make you feel better about yourself.  Here are some great tips for getting started:

  1. Before you start, talk to your doctor. Not every type of exercise is right for everyone.  Your doctor can help you to learn what types and amounts of physical activity is right for you.  A doctor will also be able to tell you what affect any medications you are taking will have.
  2. You might want to try working with a trained exercise professional, especially if they have experience working with people with similar disabilities.
  3. Plan to get roughly 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week.
  4. Activities that make your heart beat faster – aerobic exercise – are the best things to choose. But, these can be simple.  Things like fast walking, pushing yourself in a wheelchair, swimming or raking leaves can all make the heart pump a little faster.
  5. Start slow. Don’t jump right into 30 minute daily workouts.  Start by doing 10 minutes of activity and work your way up to 30.
  6. Once you’ve worked up to 30 minutes per day, try to do 30 minutes most days.
  7. Do strengthening activities, like lifting weights, 2 days per week. If you can, work on the muscles that you use less often due to your disability.
  8. Plan to workout with a friend. A friend can be a big help and a great motivator.

Remember some activity is better than none, so as long as you are doing something, you will be working toward a healthier life!  Happy New Year!

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