Exercise can seem like a daunting task. It can seem even more so if you have an illness, injury, or other disability. Don’t let those thoughts keep you away. There is always a way to get the benefits of exercise. Exercise not only helps control weight and strengthen muscles, but it reduces the risk of various diseases, boosts energy, strengthens bones, lengthens the life span, improves mood, sleep patterns and may even help prevent or manage addictions--whether they be to drugs, food, or anything else.
With a little creativity and dedication, physical activity can become part of anyone's lifestyle.
1. Swimming/Water Aerobics/Water Jogging
water-based exercise improves the health of those with rheumatoid arthritis, improves the use of affected joints, and decreases pain from osteoarthritis. Also, exercising in the water has been shown to improve mental health by improving mood and decreasing anxiety and depression.
Check out what your local swimming pool, spring, or lake have to offer--do they have lap lanes, water aerobic classes, events, or just some free space for you to do your own thing? If you like to do water-based exercise year round, look for a community center or gym with an indoor pool.
Yoga and Pilates work to strengthen and lengthen all of the major muscle groups in the body. These exercises are excellent in improving flexibility, muscular and postural strength; greater coordination and balance; enhanced core strength; and stress management and relaxation.
Most gyms have a yoga class or local studios. Yoga has a lot of modifications that can be made for your fitness level, specific injury or illness. If you live in a remote area or prefer to workout at home, DVDs and online memberships are also available.
3. Chair Workouts
For some, sitting is the only comfortable position for performing activity. Various exercises can be performed while sitting in a chair such as leg lifts, chair boxing, lifting weights, or using resistance bands. There are also DVDs available for chair exercises and many chair exercise videos can be found online(i.e. Youtube).
4. Physical Therapy
Sometimes depending on the extent of your injuries or mobility issues you might need a physical therapist. Physical therapy is like having a personal trainer. While this option can be expensive, some insurance companies will pay for it. Physical therapists are trained specifically to help you strengthen muscles and gain mobility through modified exercises to help make you stronger.
5. Specialty Classes
Look for classes at a local gym or local YMCA that adapts or is specifically for some of your limitations. Such as the YMCA’s new class Rock Steady Boxing for those suffering from Parkinsons. Rock Steady Boxing enables people suffering from Parkinson's and is known to improve a person's quality of life! Learn more here! For local class schedules check out the Staunton-Augusta YMCA.
As with any type of exercise program. Always check with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning. You can also check with your healthcare provider about modifications that might be able to work for you within your new fitness program.