"Being a wheelchair user, or anyone with some type of physical disability, can be hard. These situations sometimes come with a lot of stress and depression and learning ways to deal with it could help change you for the better. The main way [to change] is exercise. You don’t have to be a pro, but adopting some type of workout routine is good place to start. There are several ways to get started."
5 Tips to Jumpstart your Fitness Routine
Doing cardio can help get your body pumped up for a good workout. If you only have arm and hand use, handcycles or the GRIT Freedom Chair are both good ways to get your heart rate up. If you can't afford to buy one, look for a gym or adaptive recreation center near you and see what type of equipment they lend out. If none of the above is an option, simplify: go to a gym or even a park and do laps at a moderate pace to get your heart-rate up.
Resistance bands are very low in cost and very effective especially for someone who may have trouble gripping a barbell weight. They're also lightweight, portable, and easy to store.
Traditional Gym Equipment
Many machines at gyms are accessible! If you have access to this type of equipment, consider incorporating them into your fitness routine. Check out this video for tips on using traditional gym equipment.
If you do choose to use weights, start light. Don’t try to go all in at the very beginning! It's important to make sure you don't push yourself too hard too fast - slow and steady is the best way to make sure you are on the path to success.
Get (and stay) Inspired
Use social media as a tool to learn. There are all types of videos showing exercises done by people with disabilities. Not only can you learn a lot, but it's also a great motivator!
Making an exercise pledge is a great way to stay motivated. Here's a pledge from Jeremy, a GRIT Freedom Chair rider:
"I am starting a workout this week now that all the rain appears to be over. Monday-Friday this week I will push one mile in my Freedom Chair and next week do 2 miles a day until I reach my goal of up to 6 miles a day. I wear a 36 in my waist and I measured my para-belly and it was at 42. I will keep you all updated and let you know my progress throughout the 6 weeks."