Physical Activity (PA) is any bodily movement involving muscles and skeleton and takes energy to perform. Activities you do while working, playing, carrying out housework, travelling, or indulging yourself into any recreational work that is physical in nature, are all physical activities. Physically challenged individuals are people who cannot perform all these tasks like normal persons do. Disability, be it physical or mental in nature, makes it difficult for individual with condition to do certain activities subsequently preventing him or her from interacting normally with the world around them.
Apart from physical activity we do during a normal day of our lives, exercise is another important way to keep ourselves healthy and physically active. Exercise can play a vital role in maintaining our health, well being, and a quality life. Developing an exercise-oriented daily schedule which allows you to allocate a certain amount of time to do specific exercises in order to keep yourself healthy and physically active, is the key to enjoy your life to its full. Think how stressful or emotionally damaging can it be if you are physically challenged and are restricted to perform simple tasks associated with everyday routine life because of your disability, let alone exercise. Adults with disabilities are more likely to develop several other health conditions along with physical impairment they already have. Obesity being the most common condition which quickly develops in disabled individuals; they can also become vulnerable to other conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or even cancer.
Adults as well as children with disabilities or chronic health conditions can benefit from regular exercise to live a better life; however, it’s important to get consultation from a healthcare professional or physical activity specialist to address how your disability may affect your ability to safely do any kind of physical activity, be it general or specific in nature. You can always find allied health service providers who can provide you with tailor made exercises which best suit your condition.
Physically challenged people usually tend to avoid any sort of social contact since their disability makes them feel isolated from society which can be very challenging to handle both mentally and emotionally. So, it’s not only the physical challenges you have to cope with, you may also face mental or emotional barriers to exercising for better health. Feeling self-conscious about your weight, disability, illness, or injury, and want to avoid working out with other people, is quite common. Most of the mental or emotional constraints regarding physical exercise for disabled individuals are often more personal than inflicted by others or the environment. There can be various ways to successfully eliminating barriers concerning your emotional or mental well-being.
- The first step towards achieving your health goals is concentrating on activities that you can easily do, instead of worrying about the ones you can’t. Keeping your focus on benefits you are going to gain from physical exercise will help you steer away from stressful thoughts of your disability.
- Looking for ways to find an exercise routine that works best for you, is a healthy activity in itself. Keeping your exercise physiologist in the loop for this purpose is very important. Share your ideas with your personal trainer and seek feedback. And remember to do any exercise without getting proper consultation. If you used to enjoy a morning walk or cycling in the evening, but injury has restrained you from enjoying it anymore, be prepared to try new exercises. The more physical challenges you face the more creative you will need to be. With some experimenting and professional help, it’s very possible that you’ll find something equally enjoyable. This will dramatically boost your confidence and lower anxiety level.
- Even if your idea does not prove to be very successful at first, do not let yourself down. There are always new ideas to pursue. Blaming yourself for your disability or for not making improvements in your health condition will further push you down in depression. Stay positive and stay active.
- Exercise does not have to mean working out in a public park or a crowded gym. If you are self-conscious about your weight, injury, disability, or any other health condition, you can try exercising at your home with or without assistance as per your requirement. Personal trainers do offer to come to your home or workout with you at a private studio.
- Be as much social as you can. Socializing will help you gain confidence accepting your health condition. Let others knows that you like to be treated like any other person. Share your fitness goals with friends and family and ask them to support and encourage you. Better find a friend who is also facing the same problem just as yours. You can motivate and inspire each other to reach your targets.
- Exercise can be boring if you are following same routine for longer periods of time. Take a break from exercise and look for other fun games to achieve the same. Video games are always fun. If traditional exercise is making you bored, try playing activity-based video games that simulate bowling, tennis, or boxing, for example. These video games provide the pleasure of playing while seated in a chair or wheelchair and are good way to burn calories and elevate your heart rate. Having someone accompanying will surely be extra fun.
- Your safety is the top priority. Act wisely and choose low-risk activities or only exercises recommended by your professional health provider. If you are finding it difficult to walk, go for chair-bound exercises. Any further injury will add up to your suffering if you are not careful. This may impact negatively on your mental health by inducing depression. So, avoid being negligent. Also, make it a habit to warm-up and cool-down correctly to avoid muscle strains and other injuries.
Today, our understanding of disability is changed and is continuously improving, as we have started to recognize importance of a physically challenged person’s functional needs and how to address those needs in his or her physical and social environment. By not taking a person’s physical or mental deficit or shortcoming as disability and making sure to treat it as a social responsibility, we can surely make it possible for him or her live independent and full life. Also, by further educating ourselves, it will become even easier to recognize and address challenges that all people, including those with disabilities face.
Furthermore, disability does not define the personality of the individual who is having it; it is the way he or she deals with it when it is inevitable to accept it. That is why people with disability need every human being to accept them for what they are, give them all the support physical, mental or emotional, and give them a chance to be productive or themselves as well as for the society.