When you have a disability such as a lost limb, vision problem or a disease that affects you physically it is all the more important to stay healthy. And sometimes it is extremely difficult to do the things you should in order to gain optimum health. All you can do is try your best and be guided by your doctor or health care professionals. Here are some of the ways you can stay healthy both physically, mentally and emotionally.
Physically: Get all the exercise you can with your type of disability. Whether you go to a gym, can swim in a pool, have some form of exercise aides in your home or depend on another person to help you exercise, it is vital to move your body in as many ways as possible to keep as fit as you can. If you don’t it will be very difficult to stay healthy and your muscles will just waste away until you can hardly move at all.
Many people are really serious about training properly so their bodies are in top shape all the time. Others just want to lose a bit of weight or to sculpt some part of their body so it looks firmer. That’s okay too; having some kind of goal is important and helps you to focus. Here are some training tips and strategies to help anyone achieve their best during training.
- When you are serious about training, you’ll be doing it most days. That means your body needs more fuel. It is far better to eat 5 small meals a day than 3 larger ones. Make sure every mouthful is nutrient dense. When you eat your metabolism is stimulated.
- Stay hydrated because you’ll be sweating hard during training. Some fitness experts recommend drinking a glass of ice cold water first thing in the morning as it boosts your metabolism for 90 minutes.
People with a disability are the most at risk of unhealthy weight gain and losing muscle tone, especially if they are wheelchair bound for most of the time. It is essential for them to have some kind of exercise to increase lung function and keep their cardiovascular system healthy. Pilates will not only keep them more flexible, give them more stamina and boost muscle strength; an added benefit of exercise is that it increases endorphins in the body and so makes you feel good rather than depressed, something that many disabled people struggle with.
Pilates is one form of exercise that many disabled people can take part in because it is low-impact. Developed by Joseph Pilates in the 20th century to help injured dancers and athletes recover their strength, the movements have been adapted from ballet, yoga and callisthenics. In the United States alone, over 11 million people practice Pilates.
Sometimes, people get carried away with their training, never thinking that it might not be good for them. If you are really into the fitness scene and train a lot; if you are always pushing the limits to see how far you can progress, it may be time to step back a bit and look at your life. Overtraining – especially if you have a stressful job – can have some nasty effects on your body that you should be aware of.
Everything we do including eating and even talking is a stressor to our body. Some amount of stress is really good for us, but it should be balanced with rest and recovery. If you constantly train and never take any time off, it could be that your body does not have enough time to recover. Some of the symptoms of overtraining are: –
Many people run for exercise and this is a good way of burning calories as well as hardening your body. Running uses many of the different parts of the body, however if you run the wrong way it can cause injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis and hamstring pain. Once, these injuries were an accepted part of running and no one thought they could be avoided by running a different way.
Runners often push off with one foot while stretching their other leg as far to the front as possible. This is not good for their balance; the reaching foot will come down heavily and must stay on the ground absorbing the weight of your body as it catches up. If you can hear your feet slapping the ground hard as you run, you may be using this technique.
These days everyone seems to be so busy they can hardly fit in time to exercise and stay healthy. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your life and seem to have no more than a few minutes to spare, that’s okay because studies have shown 10 minute segments of exercise throughout the day work just as effectively to lose weight and get fit as a half or one hour segment.
Here are some tips to help you find those few minutes and use them efficiently to get fit.
- If you go outside in the morning to pick up the paper, go for a brisk 5 minute walk as well. That will be 10 minutes by the time you return.
Training requires fuel, but it has to be the right kind of fuel or all that exercising will be wasted as you pile on the weight. When you eat properly before training it gives you more stamina to get through all those workouts. When you eat properly afterwards, it helps your body recover well so you can keep on with your training goals.
Here are some experts tips on what to eat when training.
- Before – Simple and complex carbohydrates are essential for giving your body the fuel it needs to go through your training regime. It’s important that the energy is released in a slow and steady way during the whole routine. Whole wheat toast with banana and cinnamon is a good way to get what you need. The toast provides long term energy and the fruit will replenish the potassium lost when you sweat. Cinnamon is said to stabilise blood sugar as well as improve brain function.
- After– try chicken with mixed vegetables in olive oil. This gives you lean protein and carbs without making you feel bloated.
Whether you are fit or not, there are ways to exercise safely to prevent injury and make your training time more pleasant. No one wants to be injured during their exercise session; for a start, injury is painful and secondly, it will prevent you achieving your goal as you’ll have to forego those exercises until you’ve healed. So don’t rush in without learning how to exercise safely.
Here are some tips to help you
- If you’ve not exercised much before, get clearance from your doctor before you start.
- Don’t do exercises that jolt your joints if you have arthritis or another inflammatory disease.
It is important for everyone to have a healthy diet if they want to enjoy their life for longer. But for people with a disability it is even more important. In fact, you could say it is an essential part of their care and should be something that is a normal part of their lifestyle. Why? Disabled people usually have many more health problems than others.
If they have a diet filled with fast food or high sugar snacks they are even more likely than others to succumb to diseases such as diabetes and other problems. A poor diet will make them even more likely to become obese because they cannot move around and exercise to the same extent as other people, especially if they are wheelchair bound.
People with disabilities have a tough time of it, yet often they don’t realise it, especially if they were born with the disability. But those who lose limbs or vision through accidental injury as an adult will know what they are missing because they have experienced life without a disability. It is these people who find it more difficult to adjust to their new ‘normal’. Playing a sport can help them in many ways.
It gives them something to look forward to. With a disability, many of the usual activities simply cannot be done so a lot is lost from their new life. With all the things that they now can’t do, it makes a big difference to find something they can not only do, but have fun with.