Ahhh…nothing like beautiful summer days. Gathering with friends and family for picnics, barbeques and road trips to favorite vacation spots, become the priority and next thing we know, our schedule is jam-packed until September. Unfortunately, sometimes our fitness regimen gets put aside when actually, it’s an ideal time to get moving and enjoy the outdoors.
Exercising has amazing benefits: It relieves stress, releases mood-boosting endorphins and increases self-esteem. If you have limited mobility however, you may think that it is too difficult for you to exercise. Fortunately, this is not the case; regardless of age and physical condition, there are many ways to make exercise a part of your life and enjoy its many, many benefits.
Before you start, no matter how you feel, remember to get medical clearance from your primary doctor. Also, it is helpful to get a baseline of your general health so you can measure your progress later on. Talking to your doctor about any concerns or doubts, will help you feel more secure and confident. If you are unsure where to begin or what exercises would be appropriate, consider reaching out to an exercise professional, as they can guide you to avoid injuries and have more effective workouts.
Start the Day With A Workout
Although most people schedule their workouts when it's convenient or when they feel like it, starting your day with exercise has been demonstrated to have huge benefits and allows you to start the day off in the right way.
This will also improve your productivity and level of activity throughout the day. Morning exercise also lowers blood pressure and promotes a good night sleep.
Workouts don't need to be long and grueling to be effective; short workouts are actually more feasible and better for developing a long-term exercise habit.
Variety is Key
While any type of exercise will offer health benefits, some are harder to perform when mobility issues are involved. However, you should aim to incorporate cardio, strength training and flexibility in your routine.
Cardio raises endurance and can also be done in the water. In fact, many people with mobility issues find that exercising in water, is particularly enjoyable and beneficial, since water supports the body and reduces risk of injury. Cardiovascular activity such as water aerobics or swimming, is possible, even for those with limited function. You just need to be creative and use flotation devices with assistance, if necessary.
Cardio also helps you keep your weight under control; since work is often sedentary, globally, our weight has continued to increase over the years and obesity is a real problem.
Strength training involves weights or other forms of resistance. According to your preferences or needs, you should aim to focus the training on specific areas. For example, you could focus on your arms, torso and upper body in general, if you have limited mobility in your legs. Something to keep in mind, pushing a wheelchair can create an imbalance in your musculature which can lead to injuries later on so it’s imperative to target specific areas, to maintain a healthy balance.
Flexibility is important because it helps to prevent injury and stiffness. Yoga, pilates and stretching are great choices and can also help prevent muscle atrophy.
Choose Something You Enjoy and Be Kind to Yourself
With so many options to choose from for all physical conditions, it's important to choose something you really enjoy and won't tire of straight away.
Research suggests that it takes around 30 days to form a new habit, and especially if you're exercising in the morning, you need to choose something which for is ideal for you and makes you feel really proud for getting out of bed and exercising.
Starting a new exercise routine is hard for everyone, so start slow and gradually increase your level of activity. Remember that you are not competing against anyone! Go at your own pace, and set your own goals. Don't worry if you skip a few days or if everything doesn't go as planned; ups and downs are normal, so don't give up. Give yourself time to adapt to this new lifestyle and soon exercise will become a natural part of your life.
Stayed tuned for follow up articles with ideas from the exercise professionals of Merge Fitness, a company that specializes in fitness for all abilities.
About the Author: Lucy Lawrence, whose sister uses a wheelchair for mobility, is a professional freelance writer with many years experience. While she writes about a wide variety of sectors and topics, she feels particularly strongly about the needs of those who live their lives in difficult or challenging circumstances due to illness and injury.