After surviving a catastrophic injury, it can be hard to look towards the future with a sunny disposition. Injuries that force a person into a new “normal” can leave someone feeling lost, depressed and anxious. Adding a degree of movement can help make the adjustment period less of a shock, especially if exercise was a large part of life before the disability. From establishing new sources of support to the emotional and mental benefits, finding new forms of exercise that work with your new situation can bring some joy into your life. Learn more about exercising with a disability below.
The Benefits of Exercise
While most people associate exercise with its physical benefits, exercise does way more for the rest of the body than it gets credit for. By getting your heart rate up, you are activating many benefits that affect numerous areas of your being. The benefits that are associated with exercise include clearer thinking, a decrease in depressed and anxious feelings, increased self-esteem and improved sleep.
In addition to improvement in mood-related symptoms, exercise can also help control joint swelling and arthritis pain, while reducing coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.
Get Medical/Legal Clearance
Before starting any type of exercise routine, consult with your doctor, physical therapist and anyone else involved in your injury and recovery. If you’re pursuing legal action, you need to consult with your personal injury attorney to avoid potentially harming your case. Seattle personal injury attorney, Janelle Bailey of Washington Injury Law, has seen many spinal injury claims and encourages reaching out as soon as possible, as some states have a statute of limitations for filing a legal claim.
Establish a Support System
Getting back into a routine can be intimidating, especially when your body doesn’t move the way it used to. Look for a disability friendly facility that has amenities, such as a wheelchair ramp or machines that can be raised/lowered, to make going to and using the gym easier. Another option is to find a support group or workout club that has members with similar interests and goals. Working out with friends not only makes it more fun, but it also motivates you to exercise consistently.
Make the Most of Your Workout
To avoid hitting a lull or getting bored, add variety to your workouts. Incorporate new moves or change up the location. By having something new and different to look forward to, you’re less likely to have days where you “just don’t feel like it.” Also, look into joining an adaptive sports league. You’ll be able to learn new skills while making friends!
Getting back into exercising after a life-changing injury can be scary. You’ll have to learn new ways to move your body and make new health/personal goals that can seem lofty at first. But don’t give up. Before you know it, exercise will seamlessly fit into and better the new life you’ve created.
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