Helpful hints to get in Shape whether a wheelchair user or carer.

Taking care of ourselves is imperative and when healthy choices are incorporated into our everyday routines then well-being blooms.

Emily attends therapy sessions at Walk On in Lidcombe, aquatic-physiotherapy whenever possible and scheduled time in her standing frame amongst other exercises. These activities constitute an important aspect of her health and fitness routine. As her carer I must prioritize my health with similar vigor as being unfit would compromise my ability to give care. Essentially we all need to be robust with added vigor to meet the challenges of our active everyday roles.

My family and I take our health seriously, we share an interest in nutrition and all have our own fitness objectives. We acknowledge the need to work together to get into shape, we need to support and nurture each-others goals. While I run and throw the ball to Beastie, Emily pushes herself around the park’s concrete path, we incorporate every-ones activity in a park outing.

photo (12)We also incorporate every-ones favourites into our healthy eating plan. I make family meals nutritious so that we all benefit from healthy choices. Running a unified household is easier than splintering into individual meal plans. Like a Musketeer I say – “If it’s good for one , it’s good for all.

Take a moment to review your health and fitness goals:

  • Know your body mass index (BMI) – see here for calculator
  • Commence a workout – walk, jog, cycle, swim or join a gym. Exercise does not have to cost –  it just has to happen within your day.
  • Use your environment  – walk up stairs and repeat, squats can be performed anywhere and baked bean tins are good starter weights for bicep curls!
  • Have a health check with your doctor.
  • Timing is everything – rest, exercise and schedule your health into your diary.
  • Never overeat – the power is always with you. I have an alert on my phone that reminds me not to snack at 4pm.
  • Take up a challenge – get fit and strong. Make your mind up to do it. Carers need to be healthy to fulfill their role.
  • Raise your bar – have a serious one on one workout, it can be with a professional or a friend, it just has to happen regularly.

I felt compelled to read about successful fitness regimes and so persevered to find more helpful pointers to motivate the family and myself.

  1. Always warm up, always cool down.
  2. Make exercise convenient otherwise it won’t last.
  3. Invest in the best equipment for your sport.
  4. Do what you love or what is most satisfying for you.
  5. Know your limits – don’t get dizzy or unwell, the key is preventing injury.
  6. Hydrate – just drink water.
  7. Get a professional to help tailor a sustainable training program.
  8. Motivation – is needed for the long run. You must want to look and feel awesome!

photo 2 (55)

I get up at 6am on four mornings a week not because I love the dawn chorus but because I have arrangements to meet fellow cyclists. We ride local routes prior to our daily chores, school runs, bus schedules and morning commutes to work. The set arrangements negate any need for telephone calls, text messages (except for weather cancellations), no need to email as everyone knows the start time and place. I just have to turn up to participate.

It is not the ease of the arrangement that gets me out of bed, it is the commitment to my friends. Without their companionship I would not wake myself and cycle alone. Psychology of Sport and Exercise Journal states that you are less likely to drop out of a gym class when you have company. Pick buddies with similar fitness goals. Befriend like-minded people. The joy of my early morning rides is not all in the exercise, it is in the social camaraderie.


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