When you have a disability, it’s very easy to feel restricted and as though you can’t enjoy an active lifestyle.
However, being active helps build strong bones and muscles, strengthens your heart and boosts your self-esteem.
While you’ll need to check an activity is safe enough for you to do, there are plenty of things you can get involved in, including:
If you’re in a wheelchair, there are a number of cardiovascular exercises you can do.
The aim of the game?
To get your heart pumping enough to break you out in a sweat.
Ideas include sitting exercises, a wheelchair workout, swimming, wheelchair sports (i.e. badminton, netball and basketball) and wheelchair sprinting.
To start with, you might just want to do these for 10 minutes at a time, gradually building yourself up to 20 minutes and so on.
This involves paying attention to various different muscle groups. So while you’re using your arms and chest to push your wheelchair around, this can leave these areas overexerted and prone to injury and will also mean your back isn’t very strong.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to try and build up smaller muscles in this area, e.g. your shoulder muscles. This will help make sure you’re far less prone to injury.
Pull-ups and other such exercises are also great for building up the strength in your back.
To achieve these exercises, you may be able to find a gym nearby that’s got wheelchair-friendly equipment, or there are simple things you can use at home, e.g. resistance bands, may be all you need.
The English Federation of Disability Sport is a great place to start as it runs the Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI). This is a scheme that makes sure people with disabilities are catered for in gyms. Or you could just call your local gym to find out what equipment they have and whether they run any specialised classes for wheelchair users – you might just be surprised what’s available!
Getting Out and About
Being ‘active’ doesn’t necessarily have to mean being physical. Rather, being social and getting out in the fresh air and doing things you want to do are all active things that’ll make you feel so much better.
For example, companies like Mobility Solutions offer a range of road scooters that are ideal for getting from A to B. Whether you pop to the shops or head to your friends for a coffee, just having that independence to do what you want when you want can really boost your overall well-being.
As you can see, there is a wide range of ways you can achieve a more active lifestyle. But if you have any more ideas, we’d love to hear about them below!