As a person with a disability, do you work out or have a fitness routine? I didn’t. For a long time including well into my 20’s, I didn’t pay attention to being fit. I ate what I wanted and relied on good genes to stay skinny and thought that was all there was to it. It wasn’t until a cousin reminded me that skinny doesn’t necessarily mean fit or healthy that I started rethinking things, that was part of the reason anyway. However, there were other factors that led to me finally understanding the importance of and sticking to a fitness routine especially since I have a disability.
I’ll admit my cousin’s words struck a chord with me and I work out occasionally, smiling when I felt my muscles protesting the next day because I knew I was doing something good for my body. Nevertheless, it wasn’t really helpful, because I didn’t do it with any kind of consistency so it wasn’t really doing much for me. I ate healthy snacks in between meals and I wasn’t really putting on weight so all was good, right?
Why It’s Important To Have A Fitness Routine As A Person With A Disability
Mobility: What I didn’t realize until my mid 20’s was things were becoming harder for me to do independently and I was getting tired more quickly. I don’t know why I didn’t notice before, but that’s neither here nor there, the point is I didn’t. If you’ve been reading this blog or following me on Instagram then you know how important every bit of independence is to me. Don’t get me wrong It is important to know your limitations and ask for help when you need it, but I was not okay with the fact things were becoming more difficult for me to do simply because I wasn’t taking proper care of my body and doing what I could to stay fit. Cerebral Palsy isn’t a progressive disability, but I’ve learned that I do need to do what I can to ensure that I can maintain as much of my independence as long as possible. I guess the old saying is true if you don’t use it, you lose it
Overall Health: You may have Cerebral Palsy, but your body is going to react to other things just like everyone else. I don’t remember his exact wording, but I do remember my doctor at the time saying something like that to me. It was such a simple statement, a simple fact, but for some reason, it stuck with me. I think so often we get bogged down, by the things we have to do specifically for a disability that it doesn’t necessarily occur to be mindful of taking care of other things, that’s at least how it felt to me. So with these factors in mind, I created a fitness routine that works for me and my capabilities.
My Fitness Routine:
- Resistance Bands
My fitness routine is pretty simple, I like to use dumbbells to maintain the strength that I have and work out my arms because I rely on them so much, especially during transfers. Resistance bands become a favorite workout tool of mine during one of my physical therapy sessions especially to work on my legs. These days I love to use them to work out my legs while doing other things like watching tv. I find stretching harder to do without help, but I’m starting out simple, when I stop feeling the stretch in my muscles from what I’m doing I’ll add others to this part of my routine. Although given my CP I’m not sure I’ll ever stop feeling the stretch from the exercises I do.
Influencers I Follow
When I became serious about creating a fitness routine, I started looking on Instagram for workouts I could do or modify for capabilities given my disability. I’m sharing two of my favorite Influencers, I hope you find their workouts as helpful as I do.
Anna Sarol: Anna is a wheelchair user and often sharing lifestyle tips and wheelchair user hacks, but she focuses on being healthy and working out, often sharing her workout routines and different workouts and stretches you can add to your fitness routine.
Brittany Noelle Fitness: I’ve been following Brittany for a while as a Personal Trainer, she’s all about helping you stay fit and get stronger. I often check out her profile when I’m looking for new exercises to try.
Related: Fashion Influencers I Follow & Disability Influencers I Follow
Staying fit and healthy is important especially if you are a person with a disability and want to be as independent as your disability lets you be. I was more aware of things I needed to do to be healthy and main mobility a few years ago, but I’ll admit that I struggled with consistency, the pandemic and shutdown reminded me why it was important to focus on things that mattered including taking care of myself. Now that you know my story and why having a fitness routine is important to me, I’ll ask do you have a fitness routine, if so what are some of the exercises/stretches you like to do?
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