Fitness is proving to be a tricky beast to tame for even the most motivated of us. It’s not for nothing that many developed nations, led by the US, are hurtling towards an obesity epidemic, or already are in the throes of one.
Our lifestyles are to blame.
But fitness is not that difficult to achieve if you get your mindset right. It’s in our approach to fitness that many falter.
Disabled people or those facing mobility issues should be particularly conscious about their health and fitness since fat often sneaks up on us. You are not moving around much as it is which makes it even more important for you to combat the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
The following tips should help you if you have been meaning to lead a fitter lifestyle but have been having trouble doing so.
Cutting down on sugar really makes a lot of difference
We underestimate how much our regular consumption of sugar is holding us back from meeting our fitness goals.
You will only realize this when you go for a few weeks by eliminating added sugar and sugary foods from your diet.
It is incredibly hard to do so. But the thing to keep in mind is that it gets easier and easier with time. It’s a bit like not being able to do an exercise movement in the beginning because your body is not used to it, or learning to play a new instrument.
Anything which is new takes time for our body and mind to adjust to. But once you have adapted to it, matters get easier.
Regulate your intake of sugar and you have already met 50% of your fitness goals.
But does that mean you eliminate all sugary foods from your diet?
No. That is not only not needed, it is also not possible since so much of what we have evolved eating is sugar-based.
Foods high in naturally occurring sugar are fine. So that means enjoy your apple, indeed eat it more often.
But added sugar is a strict no-no. Stop adding sugar to your tea and coffee. If you can’t have unsweetened tea, opt for honey as a sweetener.
No doughnuts, sweet cereal, frosties, ice cream, cakes, or even chocolate (unless of a dark variety).
Try the above for a few weeks and notice the difference. I very much doubt you would want to go back to your sugar-fueled days.
Carbs are not evil, processed carbs are
We need carbohydrates to get through the day. They are our primary source of fuel, and that is fine because that is how it has been since forever.
Fruits and grains, along with meat, have been a part of our diet for thousands of years, so there is no need to shy away from consuming carbohydrates.
What you should ensure, however, is not to consume processed food.
Again, just as added sugar, this could prove to be difficult in the beginning, seeing as how much our diets revolve around food items containing all-purpose flour.
Everything that you are fond of consuming, find a healthier alternative for it.
So instead of white bread, opt for whole-wheat bread (not multigrain bread, though), and replace instant noodles with oats.
(No such thing as a healthy pizza from a fast food joint, so forget all about it! In fact, don’t eat out more than once or twice a month.)
Keep your fat consumption moderate
The body needs fat to remain in optimal health, just make sure you eat the right kind of fats, and more importantly in right amounts.
A gram of fat contains 9 calories as compared to 4 contained in a gram of protein as well as carbohydrate. So because they are calorie-dense, keep your fat consumption low, not more than 20% of your overall diet.
Why exercise is the missing piece of the puzzle
People keep debating about which has a bigger role to play in achieving long-term fitness, diet or exercise?
Some say diet plays a bigger role – “Abs are made in the kitchen,” for example. And others say that it is all about the overall calorie consumption. As long as you are within your daily calorie intake limit, you shouldn’t put on weight, and that you actually can out-exercise a bad diet (depending on how many calories you consume).
It’s best not to get too involved in this debate and instead keep things simple.
Let’s just work with the assumption that both diet and exercise are equally important for long-term fitness, and that it shouldn’t matter which of these plays a bigger role.
On top of observing the above guidelines, make room for exercise in your routine.
Disabled people are at a greater risk of obesity seeing as they are strapped to their beds or wheelchairs for the vast majority of the time.
So while cutting down on sugar and processed carbs will certainly help, daily exercise will take you right into the realm of the superfit.
Here are some good exercises to consider:
(1) Lift dumbbells
If you can’t move your legs, fine. You can move your arms, while engaging your core muscles. So do it with a pair of dumbbells for beginners. 2.5 pounds may be a good weight to start.
Tune into guided exercise videos on YouTube and start carrying out one rep after another. Pay particular attention to the form, however, and do not strain yourself.
(2) Go swimming
If you can move somewhat, swimming is a great overall exercise. There are dedicated swimming classes for the disabled or those with restricted mobility. Find one in your neighborhood and join when you can.
(3) Play basketball
You don’t even need a partner for this.
Find a park with a basketball court, or have one built in your own backyard. Aim to get the ball through the net each time and set a good number of goals for you to achieve. Aiming the ball and retrieving it from different corners of the court by moving around in your wheelchair will make for good exercise.
(4) Move around a lot
To remain physically active on top of exercising regularly is a great way to build overall fitness. Invest in an excellent mobility scooter like a Pride Mobility Scooter and move around your garden, the park, at the mall, etc. on your own.
You will feel good about yourself running errands on your own. It will refresh your mind and you will also engage in some physical activity.
To tie it all together
A lot goes into achieving fitness and remaining fit. We have presented here the most important components of it. Clean up your diet, find an exercise routine you enjoy, and engage in daily chores and errands with the help of your pride go go mobility scooter and you will feel not just fitter and healthier, but also happier and more independent. It’s amazing to be fit, and therefore worth every sacrifice we need to make.