By Kings Floyd, a Bodimojo intern and aspiring writer.
As a high school student, I not only face all of the challenges of today’s teenagers, but also the challenge of living with muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that involves muscle weakness. Because of my disability, it’s more difficult for me to do the things that many teenagers take for granted, such as sitting up or walking. But despite my disability, like any typical teenager, I am determined to stay healthy and fit.
Staying fit with a disability is just as important as staying fit without one, if not more. A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. But many physical disabilities confine people to wheelchairs so we can’t walk at all, giving us no exercise in their legs. Manual wheelchairs incorporate the use of the arm muscles, but if a person is using a power wheelchair with a motor, muscles don’t get a workout at all. Not moving all day isn’t healthy for anyone, period.
Disabilities cause many disadvantages, including making it inconvenient to travel everywhere, including the local gym. Adaptive equipment is not found everywhere, and some of adaptive equipment requires more than one person to operate.
I’ve discovered that a great way to exercise is in the water. There is so much less gravitational pull in the water, so water offers freedom. Recovery and rehab from accidents is often done in the water, for example, because therapy is more effective there. Everyone can learn to swim, so it’s an independent sport, without the need for assistance.
Besides working out, choosing the right food is crucial to good fitness. Proportioning your food is essential. One of the major problems for people with disabilities is that they eat, but then don’t have the resources to burn of the fat and calories they gained. Some people also have trouble sleeping because they are sitting all day, or only using one part of their body to get around, and have a reserve of energy left over.
I have discovered there are no “if, ands or buts” about eating right and exercising, even with a disability. There are no shortcuts to staying healthy, no matter who you are.
Last reviewed Dec 1.,2014