Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone. It’s important to eat healthy, stay active and relax and have down time in order to ensure great physical and mental health.

Often times, people with disabilities believe that they are unable to do the same things that the physically-able can do. They give up ideas of playing sports, running, walking and just exercising.

Being disabled does not mean you can’t stay active. In order to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise is important to instill into your routine. Exercise helps reduce the risk of blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The less activity you do, the more you are putting your health at risk.

Here are a few tips on how to stay active with a disability:

  • Hire a personal trainer. It may be painful at times, but if you get a trainer who is used to working with people with disabilities, they can train you and create exercises that will allow you to use your whole body. Even someone with cerebral palsy can learn to use their legs again with the right type of motivation and training.
  • Don’t quit on sports. Instead, learn to work around your disability. Nothing is stopping you from playing sports but your mindset. Even if you are in a wheelchair, with enough practice, you can build up your upper body strength just enough to get you moving fast enough to keep up in a game. Not only will it strengthen your arms and chest, but it will also be a great cardiovascular workout!
  • Work out on your own. Pick a workout challenge and build your strength. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just pick something you like to do what you are also able to do and what you would like to get out of it. Make a schedule of exercise routines with cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening training. If you’re not sure of what you’re able to do or how much you‘re able to do, consult your doctor or your physical therapist.
  • Join a swimming or water aerobics class. Water naturally creates a great amount of resistance against your body to help you build strength. It is also a lot easier to move your body in water because the gravity affects your body differently. Join a local gym with a swimming pool and make swimming a part of your routine or join a class!
  • Play video games that promote exercise. By using Xbox Live or the Nintendo Wii, you can work out by playing virtual sports games. Make it a part of your routine to play those games for at least 150 minutes per week to get a good workout!

Staying active is easy, and it’s great for your physical and mental strength. Not only will it reduce the risk of physical illness and strengthen your body, but exercise has the ability to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Just remember to consult your doctor or physical therapist to find out what works for you, and remember to stay positive and motivated!

Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock