AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health


Physical disabilities can happen to anyone at any time in life. They can be the result of genetic issues or injuries or disease. Because the majority of people don’t have these challenges in modern society today, fitness regimens and equipment are often geared for normal, fully-mobile children and adults. However, now that military conflicts have been producing more injuries that soldiers and victims are living through, disability needs in fitness are coming to the forefront again.

Regardless of the injury type, a physical disability often impairs a person’s ability to perform regular fitness and exercise under normal conditions. However, the assumption that an affected person can’t obtain a proper cardiovascular workout or anaerobic experience is false. Much of the challenge involves reconfiguring exercise and fitness to fit the current condition of a person rather than trying to stick with non-applicable fitness methods. Nutrition and supplementation also plays a key role and over or under eating can play a major factor. For example if you are eating for comfort and that is getting in the way of your weight loss goals you can take an appetite suppressant. Or if a person loses the ability to use his legs due to paralysis, it probably means that running for cardiovascular benefits won’t be possible anymore. That said, he could still obtain the same pulmonary and breathing benefits from a workout that involves quick, repetitive arm workouts as well as swimming, which has little need for the legs.

Further, fitness involved diet as much as it involves exercise. In many cases, those with a disability may assume they will be far more sedentary in activity, so growing fat is unavoidable. This is a myth and a mistake. Diet can easily be controlled and limited to reduce caloric intake in a healthy way to still match the amount of energy burned daily. Fat generally builds up when the body is eating far more than it is burning off. By matching the diet to the level of output, obesity can be easily avoided in many cases.

Specific Methods of Fitness

For those who are challenged with mobility limitations, resistance tools and weights can easily provide alternative workouts that keep the body moving, working, and sweating. Depending on the type of disability involved, these tools can be modified in approach to increase the workout performed in other offsetting ways.

Working Without Arm Benefits

For example, if a person’s arms are limited, the legs can easily be used for both cardiovascular and aerobic exercise as follows:

Running, jogging or walking fast has always been a major source of burning energy and improving cardiovascular strength as well as overall health. From a basic program that starts with jogging to a full-blown marathon program, running can result in incredible fitness and exercise results because of the strength and endurance it takes to sustain a run for a period of time.

A stationary bike works well for those who can’t use their arms but may have balance issues with free-running. While the stationary bike doesn’t produce as much of a workout as an actual run, it can be adjusted in resistance to produce a significant workout.

An elliptical machine provides a resistance-style cardio workout for the legs and body where impact to the ankles and knees may be a problem. Because the elliptical uses a cycle motion, the joints are saved from impact injuries on pavement or ground when running. However, the resistance levels can be applied to make the workout progressively harder as strength develops.

Workouts involving stationary jumping and squats will get anyone’s heart pumping very quickly. Many dance exercise routines and bootcamp workouts involve these exact exercises, require little or no use of hands and arms during the entire routine.

All of these activities performed for just 30 minutes a day can have huge aerobic benefits and burn off incredible energy.

Working Without Leg Benefits

Alternatively, one of the more common physical disabilities involves exercising without the benefit of the legs. That said, there are plenty of options available, making the issue a non-problem. It just takes a bit of creativity.
Swimming is probably one of the biggest tools that can be used for repetitive exercise that will provide both upper body strength as well as an incredible cardiovascular benefit. Granted, without the legs, the swimming can be harder, but once the body has adjusted for the compensation the loss of leg mobility in the water is not even noticed. Further, buoyancy actually makes it easier for a person to manage without his legs in most cases.

Weight-lifting and resistance workouts provide strength-training and a large array of fitness options that can be performed without the need for one’s legs. From free-weights to machines, there are plenty of exercise tools available to provide an anaerobic workout as well as a sweat.

Further, for a full body burn and incredible fitness improvement core workouts as well as pushups and pullups can produce incredible results physically. These exercises that anyone can do anywhere use the body itself as the weight or resistance to overcome. Unlike a weight machine, which only exercises a set part of the body, body-oriented exercises involve multiple muscle groups working together simultaneously. That in turn produces a far greater result in physical fitness when performed regularly.

Utilizing Flexibility and Rest

As much as good workout feels like an accomplishment, the body also needs to maintain flexibility and rest. Flexibility is critical to avoid over-exertion and injuries. Many times a lack of flexibility can result in pulls and sprains which heal with ice and stretching. However, more serious injuries can result in muscle tears or separation of ligaments, which in worst cases can result in surgery needs. Avoiding these issues can often be performed with a good, regular stretching routine before and after exercising. Yoga also provides a very good outlet for stretching and body flexibility as well.

When people get into a fitness routine, it’s easy to get caught up in the schedule along with everything a person is handling in life. However, even a fit body needs period of rest to recovery and rebuild its resources again. This is why many fitness programs recommend a 6 or 8 week on, 1 week off schedule. It breaks the chronic demands on the body and provides a window when the body can just relax without stress. The results often let the body come back stronger when the exercise cycle begins again.

Nutrition and Diet

As mentioned before, diet provides a significant element to fitness with a disability. However, a good diet is more than just watching caloric intake. It also involves eating the right foods on a regular basis to augment a fitness workout and not work against it.

The obvious players in good nutrition involve eating fruits and vegetables, protein, natural foods, and maintaining a good intake of vitamins and minerals. This approach also involves avoiding processed foods, sugar, high carbohydrate foods, fat, oils, and artificial chemicals. Most people have a fair idea right off the bat which foods are good and bad health-wise, so it’s not a great challenge to identify the right items to eat.

What can be more of a challenge is being able to budget for and find the right foods. Processed and bad foods are far more common to find than natural foods. Good dietary food sources often tend to be more expensive, at least in the grocery store. So for those on a budget, it can be a challenge to remain perfectly healthy with good nutritional intake.

That said, there are ways around the financial challenge. Coupons often offer a means by which to save money on some goods which can then be used to buy better foods or at least at discount. Using a local farmer’s market is also a far less expensive way to buy fruits and vegetables and even eggs as well as natural-made bread. Finally, focusing grocery-shopping on the outer rim of the store’s inventory versus the aisles will avoid using processed foods as most natural food products are on the outer-rims of the store layout.

Fitness trainers and coaches are also often good sources of information on how to eat better. Many trainers have a very good idea on what foods or diet will work best for a given individual’s needs versus a textbook answer for a general population.

In Summary

Given all of the above, a disability should not be seen as an end to fitness. It is simply a challenge that has to be worked around to obtain the same exercise benefits and physical health. Granted, new limitations exist, but they can often be managed or offset by creative means. So fitness and a disibility are not oil and water; people can still retain good physical health with physical limitations.

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Categories: General

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