Living with a disability can be a daily challenge, but it does not mean being limited as far as the activities you can participate in. Many people continue to be active in sports and other events that require mobility; it just requires thinking outside the box a bit.
Not only are these activities good for you physically–strengthening the heart, bones, and muscles and improving coordination–they can also boost your self-esteem, lower stress levels, and elevate your mood. Being part of a team can also help you form bonds with others and can even help you give back to your community. As long as the sport or event doesn’t cause you pain or put you in danger, it’s most likely alright to pursue it, although you should check with your doctor beforehand just to be sure.
Read on for the best ways to participate in sports and stay active and vital in your community.
Be a coach
Often, there are many people in a community who are living with a disability and want to participate in a sport but don’t know where to begin. Some will have an easier time playing sports with non-disabled teammates than others; for those who need to play in a wheelchair or use other equipment, starting teams that cater to their needs is a wonderful way to boost the differently-abled community in your local area. Do some research online to find out how much interest there is in such a team and, if you’re knowledgeable about the game, offer to coach. Young people–and even adults–need an experienced player who knows how to use a disability to their advantage to look up to.
Go for a swim
If you’re not into team sports but want to get more active, consider swimming. Many individuals with disabilities turn to swimming as a way to have fun while they get in a workout, and the great thing about swimming is that it can be done by just about everyone. In the water, being differently-abled doesn’t always matter. Check out your local YMCA to see what they offer in the way of a pool–indoor or outdoor–and what kind of classes they have. Swimming is wonderful exercise for building up strength without pain.
Create a home gym
You may be picturing a cavernous space filled with mirrored walls and thousands of dollars worth of machinery, but a home gym can be as simple or as extravagant as you want it to be. Think about what areas of your body you want to work on and go from there, as you want to invest in gym equipment that you’ll actually use. A stability ball, a barre, a resistance band, and a treadmill are all great pieces to have in your gym because they allow for flexibility with your workouts. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new regimen.
Adopt a dog
If you don’t already have a pet, consider adopting a dog. Animals can bring so much joy to your life, and they can be great motivators when it’s time for a workout. You can switch it up and go for a long walk a couple of days a week, then change to playtime in the backyard by throwing a ball for your dog. You can also sign up for charity walks that involve your pet, as long as your health will allow it.
Remember that your health is priority number one. Make sure you have your doctor’s approval before you begin any new routine, and take it slow at first. Don’t push yourself or keep doing a workout that doesn’t agree with you. Ease yourself into it and have fun.