Finding the Joy in Physical Fitness

When you are disabled or a wheelchair user you will have limitations to what types of workouts you are able to do but working out is not completely out of the question for some disabled people. Disabled people just do them differently and instead of running on the treadmill to get a good cardio workout disabled people might push their chairs around their neighborhood. Some disabled people might have more limitations and face more challenges when working out and avoid because of all the challenges they face. If you are able to work out but don’t because you use your disability as an excuse not to: Stop! and start thinking about creating a routine that best suits your needs. Working out with disability has many challenges but should not be avoided because of these challenges. Creating even a short and simple five-minute routine can help improve your physical health and improve your strength and endurance so you are able to have the energy to get more stuff done. If you hate fitness it can be a struggle to get into the right mindset to want to work out every day and stay committed to your routine. I totally understand I have been there and was completely miserable for several years and almost quit because of it until I made a few simple changes that helped me love fitness!

Gaining body confidence and sticking to a workout routine was something I struggled with in high school so after I graduated I decided I was going to commit and make it a habit. I was so desperate to get in shape that I decided I was going to up my physical activity and start going on two-mile walks every day and hopefully get the results I wanted pretty quickly. Sound pretty easy and low impact right?  Not if you are disabled and aren’t used to exercise! Overexerting myself by walking that much caused miserable back pain that I couldn’t get rid of and leg cramps. I put so much stress on my body during that time it took me a good year before I was able to feel normal again. Not getting the result I wanted and having constant pain got old pretty quickly so I thought to myself there has to be a better way.

And there was! I no longer go on walks, I follow along with different routines I can find on YouTube and love it! Before I just did it because I knew in the back of my mind it was good for me, but what I failed to realize is that if you are exercise with improper form and not taking rest days you won’t get the results you are looking for. Now I enjoy taking care of my body because the trainers that I follow have taught me fun and easy ways to do so and you can make fitness fun. Sometimes you just have to be willing to think outside of the box a little bit if you really hate fitness and you can’t be in the mindset that you hate all things fitness.

If you are wondering what I’ve been watching, I found a fitness channel called Blogilates and it’s basically high-intensity Pilates with pop music. The pilates I practice is not like any type of Pilates you have ever seen before because it’s like a dance on the mat and all the traditional moves you see in Pilates are made harder. When people ask me what I do for exercise I tell them that, sometimes they give me a blank stare because a lot of people don’t know what Pilates is. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s a full-body workout but it mainly focuses on core work. Sometimes people confuse Pilates and Yoga but they are not the same thing and both Pilates and Yoga have different benefits and depending on what your goals are will determine what is right for you.

Pilates has helped me build some strength but it does not meet all my needs and one thing in particular that it doesn’t have a lot of is strength training. I like to add weight to my workouts for a little extra resistance so I found a second channel called Rebecca Louise Fitness that has helped me take my workouts to the next level. Blogilates has a lot of workouts that use no equipment, which I find helpful when I am slacking on my workouts but when I am not and want something more it is always good to have a second approach to elevate your workouts.

If you are a wheelchair user finding a workout and are able to do some kind of physical activity my advice to you is stick to resistance training, weight lifting, and going on strolls around your neighborhood. Strength training can help increase your metabolism so you can lose weight and keep it off, become stronger and fitter, and keeps your bones healthy! It doesn’t take just do something because even just a little bit can make huge improvements in your physical and mental health.

When you aren’t getting the results you are wanting it can be really frustrating and make some people want to give up! Look at your routine and ask yourself are my goals realistic? Sometimes they’re not and it could be the reason you are having setbacks and not achieving your goals. I know for me it was and the moment I stopped going on two-mile walks, set realistic goals with myself and changed my routine everything started to fall into place and to crush my goals. Rest days are also important which is also one thing I was not doing because I thought I would get results faster if I worked out more. Working out more is not always the answer but sometimes less is better because you don’t build muscle during your workout but in your recovery days. If you don’t take those necessary rest days you will become very frustrated because you’re not seeing those results. In some ways, you may even feel like you hit a plateau but if you don’t rest your body it could just be your tired or overtrained, and taking a few days off might help get you back on track.  Getting in shape doesn’t have to be endless situps and horrible cardio like everyone is telling you it should be and there are other ways to get in shape and brisk walking or dancing are just a few.  You can make fitness fun! Get creative and get out of that mindset that all forms of physical fitness are boring. It’s simply not true and you will never motivate yourself to get in shape with that mindset. How do you stay active?

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