Staying active is important, but many people with disabilities aren’t getting enough exercise. As a result, they are diagnosed with physical conditions like extreme obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes at a higher rate than people without disabilities. Additionally, individuals with disabilities are at higher risk of developing secondary conditions like depression that damage both their health and quality of life.
The physical, mental, and social benefits exercise provides can be especially beneficial for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult for people with disabilities to work out. Or is it? In actuality, getting the recommended two and a half hours of physical activity each week is easier than you might think. In fact, the easiest place for individuals with disabilities to get active may be right at home.
Whether you suffer from visual or hearing impairment, mobility issues, or mental health concerns, your home is a safe space. It is likely already equipped or modified for your disability, which should make it easier to navigate as you engage in your physical activity of choice.
Strength training is a natural place to start. Using a few simple, cost-effective pieces of workout equipment like weights, a yoga mat, and a jump rope, you can easily complete a full-body workout right in your living room. With the help of your doctor (and his or her blessing), you can tailor your regimen to include only the exercises with which you are comfortable, and you can adjust the intensity for your fitness level.
Moreover, lots of different activities count as “exercise.” In many cases, the activities you already enjoy doing can provide you with a workout. Gardening, for example, is an activity that many people with disabilities already participate in that is also considered a workout. Do you like to dance? A living room dance party counts, too! You don’t have to follow any steps or even be any good. The key is to get your body moving, your muscles working, and your heart pumping. As an added bonus, hobbies like these are considered leisure activities and have amazing mental health benefits.
When you work out at home, it’s easy to get your whole family involved in the process. Being surrounded by people you know and trust can make it easier to get active. Because they are already aware of the challenges that come along with your disability, they make the perfect guides for an early-morning swim in the pool or an after-dinner game of kickball.
Last, but definitely not least, man’s (or woman’s) best friend can also be your favorite workout buddy. In actuality, just owning a dog makes you more active. Going for walks, throwing a frisbee, and playing tug-of-war are all good forms of cardiovascular, resistance, and aerobic exercise. On top of walking and playing with your dog, you can also incorporate your pooch into your workouts. Dog yoga or “doga,” for example, allows you and your four-legged friend to practice yoga together. You can also take your dog along for a walk around the block or just the yard. These types of activities can be especially beneficial if you use a service animal to help manage your disability.
Finding a rewarding, enjoyable workout routine is not an easy task. In the end, the best workout for anyone is the one he or she will do consistently enough to reap the amazing health and wellness benefits that come with it. For people with disabilities in particular, an at-home workout plan may be the best way to do just that.
“As a former financial planner, I use my background and experience to help those with disabilities plan for their future. I teach them the value of planning ahead, as physical and mental disabilities often cause stress and confusion when it comes to financial planning.”