Rolling Without Limits

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How to Design a Fitness Plan That Works for You
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How to Design a Fitness Plan That Works for You

Overlooking physical exercise is not uncommon for some of us – with most mainstream resources on health and fitness being targeted at those who don't use mobility devices, the challenge of where and how to start exercising can be enormous if you are do use one. No wonder that for a lot of us who tackle disabilities, the idea of physical exercise seems surreal. But mobility needs should not keep us back from indulging in exercise – indeed, whether you wear a prosthetic or use a wheelchair, you should know that the right kind of exercise will always be beneficial.

Why work out?

Not matter your ability: exercise improves your lung health, decreases cardiovascular illness, and enhances your stamina and balance. It also lowers your chances of becoming overweight or obese, which in turn diminishes the risk of Type-II diabetes, stroke and heart attack. In particular, “maneuvering or pushing a wheel can… put strain on certain muscles in the upper body, making strains or other injuries more likely,” says Philli 2e7e p Gill of YMCAfit, one of the UK’s leading providers for fitness training and solutions; which is why“muscle-strengthening exercises can help you to manage your exercise in daily, and avoid these kinds of injuries.”

No less important are the emotional and mental benefits of exercising on a regular basis. Exercise releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that lift up your mood, bring down depression, help you concentrate and prevent age-related decline; and improves your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. The bottom line is that exercise is a core requisite of a hale, healthy and happy life – and you deserve a life like that!

Working out –When and how often?

The UK Department of Health recommends that adults between 19 and 64 should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-level aerobics each week; it also recommends indulging in muscle-strengthening activities multiple times per week.

For most of us: we set a goal to reach such recommended times. However, the goal should be to start small and then increase the time we spend working out, in comfortable but well-paced increments. Start with 10-15 minute sessions, eventually raising the time you workout daily to half an hour or so. If you don’t feel like you can exercise every single day, spread out your workouts over the week, choosing three to four days for concentrated exercising. If you’re unsure what the best pattern might be, a personal trainer can help design a workout best suited to your individual needs and goals. In the end, the key is consistency – whatever the workout you design, it will not be successful until you are regular.

What kind of exercise can wheelchair-users engage in?

A lot of you who are new to exercising think the options to be limited; but the truth is that a wide range of physical activities are open to all of us. Strength training, aerobic exercises and flexibility training are the three categories of workouts most useful for individuals with mobility needs– and the options in each category are numerous. Some activities that you should be aware of and try out are:

  • Swimming to develop cardiovascular fitness
  • Wheelchair spinning, sprinting and racing to increase your heart and lung health
  • Wheelchair dancing if you’re a fan of dance and music!
  • Indoor cycling to burn fat, and increase your emotional and mental well-being
  • Rowing exercises to work your biceps, chest and upper-back muscles
  • Wheelchair-adapted versions of sports such as basketball, tennis and golf
  • Strength-training exercises such as bench press and bicep curls
  • Chair yoga for increased stamina and flexibility
  • Stretching exercises for stronger, more flexible muscles

The options are numerous enough that each of us can find something that does not just meet our health and fitness goals, but also provides an enjoyable and emotionally-fulfilling experience. Your local health and fitness center or leisure club can provide you a more thorough list of opportunities and exercises, as well as details on which activities can help you target your specific fitness goals, and deal with any injuries you get during your workout. However, if you’re still worried about trying out a new workout or sticking to a workout routine you’ve chosen, you may want to find or form a group of like-minded individuals seeking similar health and fitness outcomes.

Author Bio: Rachael Everly is a passionate blogger who loves to write on the topics related to Health and Lifestyle.

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