Exercise is an important component of healthy living, especially for individuals with disabling conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
Exercise can help minimize these risks. In fact, exercise is arguably more important for people living with a disability, as they are often less active than those without.
Not only can exercise minimize your risk for health complications, but it can help strengthen muscles, improve stamina and reduce depression/anxiety.
However, before starting any type of exercise regimen, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your options and limitations. They will be able to tell you which exercises are safe and which ones you should avoid, as well as what intensity you should stick to.
You don’t have to do strenuous workouts to reap the benefits of physical activity either. Two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week, such as a short walk, light weight lifting or adapted yoga, can be just as beneficial as one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise.
It’s important to take it easy at first and work your way up. Even if you can only exercise in 10-minute increments, that’s better than nothing. Start with what you can, and then set goals to progress.
You might also look to see if your local community center has a fitness program you are interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask to meet with the instructor beforehand to discuss any concerns or limitations you may have. Oftentimes they’ll be more than happy to work with you and adapt the program to your needs.
So, next time you’re visiting your doctor, ask what exercises might be beneficial for you, and resolve to give them a try. You’ll see a difference in your health (and mood) in no time!