Timeless October/November 2021 - Page 20


Fitness tips for those who struggle with physical limitations

By Melessa Harmon • Contributing Writer

Do you find it difficult to stand or get up off the floor ? Is it painful to use your hands ? Or are you confined to your wheelchair ?

No matter what physical limitations you ’ re battling , there is always some form of exercise that you can perform . Exercise is for EVERYBODY !
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health . Consistently engaging in an effective exercise program will improve your functionality and may even lessen your pain , to only name two of the many vital benefits exercise provides .
Ideally , maintaining a proper exercise regimen from the start is one of the critical
Harmon actions you can take to ward off or greatly minimize those pesky limitations that you may be prone to , though , sadly , some limitations are completely out of your control . Unfortunately , many individuals that struggle with limitations have not participated in an exercise regimen , therefore starting a program becomes even more daunting . . . Maybe this is where you are at and that is okay .
Don ’ t give up ! Neither your age nor your limitation should prevent you from exercising and typically , once you encounter one limitation others will develop . So , don ’ t wait and put your exercise plans off till tomorrow . I ’ m not going to tell you it ’ ll be easy ; it will be hard , and it will continue to get harder until YOU take action .
Where there ’ s a will , there ’ s a way . – Angela Merkel
So where do you start ? You ’ re unable to go to a gym . You don ’ t have any of the traditional gym equipment . Maybe you have encountered other environmental barriers that overwhelm and prevent you from starting a program . First of all , these are all excuses . You may need to get creative and you may need professional insight , but there is always something you can do to become more physically fit . You ’ ve got this !
When we think about an exercise routine , most people envision a swift walk or run for their cardiovascular routine and roaming about a gym combing free weights and machines for their strength training routine . Exercise routines come in various forms and can be molded into each individual ’ s situation . The following are tips and recommendations to help you develop an effective routine :
Tips and Recommendations
• If you do have a physical limitation or even multiple limitations , I urge you to speak with your doctor before entering into an exercise program . Your doctor may provide you with dos and don ’ ts depending on your specific situation .
• Maybe you have absolutely no idea where to start . Reach out to a certified personal trainer , at the very least , to get you started . The benefits in working with a trainer are tremendous ! He or she will provide the proper instruction and will also help you in gaining more confidence .
• Set short and long-term goals . Especially short-term ! Your short-term goals may be as simple as completing your exercise program for the day and don ’ t overwhelm yourself with goals . Write your goals down . Share your goals with friends and family .
• Ensure you have support . Having support , especially if you are struggling with limitations is important for your success .
• Water aerobics ( low impact activity ) is extremely beneficial , especially if you are suffering from joint or muscle pain , as well as most other limitations . The water supports the body ; therefore , it reduces the discomfort in joints and muscles . Water aerobics is great for strength and cardiovascular conditioning . Living in the South , many of us are fortunate enough to have pools . If not , there are community pools that you may have access to .
• Other low impact activities are walking , cycling , rowing . If you have a difficult time walking or even standing , you can even sit in a solid chair and march in place . With this exercise , move your arms as if you were walking or alternate reaching towards the sky . You can also really have fun and add some intervals by marching at a comfortable but slightly challenging speed to as fast as you can for a few seconds .
• There are a number of exercises that you can also perform just sitting in a solid chair . You can use your body weight , items in your pantry , or other weight-bearing items , exercise bands , and balls . The chair is a great tool to use if you have limitations .
• If your hands are weak or you are suffering other limitations with your hands or wrists , using a tennis ball or other small ball to squeeze is an effective exercise .
I only discussed a few exercises that can be performed for those with physical limitations , but the above tips and recommendations will provide some insight into exercises that may be appropriate for your situation . Remember , exercise is for EVERYBODY . Don ’ t get discouraged and it ’ s never too late to start .
• Melessa Harmon is a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor . You may contact her at melessa . harmon @ gmail . com