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Avatar universal

Exercise and disabilities

Okay...I have a whole cocktail of disabilities. Sight loss, hearing loss, balance and motor issues, cerebral palsy (I can walk, and within a certain cone sort of see).

My doctor says that there's no -barriers- to exercise...Indeed, I need to, pretty badly, to lose weight (like most people). And I have a membership at my local gym.

However, that doesn't help the question of setting up an actual exercise program to make the gym time more than "pick whatever looks good", a major problem of mine at the moment; from what I can tell, my health insurance doesn't cover a physical trainer, and I don't quite have -that- kind of money, so I'm falling back on finding whatever I can online. But I can find pretty much nothing.

I don't know, actually, where to begin. Should I focus on resistance training? (Are there strength issues I need to look out for?) Treadmill/stationary bike for cardio?

In short...just how -should- I build an exercise program?

Are there books I should be reading? Websites to look at?

I am very lost.
4 Responses
Avatar universal
I discovered this website after  a quick google search.  This might be a good place to start. It's United Cerebral Palsy Sports & Leisure page.


Since you already have health insurance, you might want to get your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist. These folks might actually have a bit more expertise than personal trainers in helping you figure out a good exercise program based on your current abilities, any adaptive needs you might have, and working around whatever limitations you have.  (Also, you may not have to pay for it if it's prescribed by your doctor and covered in your health insurance policy.)

If that isn't possible, I'd go to the gym and plead financial hardship with the staff. I'm sure they hear it all the time.  And they can probably get you 1 or 2 consultations with a personal trainer at a lower rate.  

These consultants will want to know what your goals are (e.g., lose weight, train for a marathon, get buff, or whatever your goals happen to be), and they can show you how to use different equipment and set up a program for you to follow based on your goals, your specific physical/motor/neurological needs and abilities, and the amount of time you have to dedicate to exercising.  

Last but not least,  you can always get a personal trainer at the gym to show you how to use the equipment for free, even if they won't set up a workout program for you for free. That's why they have these people there in the first place.  While they are doing that, they can probably show you how to adapt  any of the equipment for your particular needs.

Essentially, you're looking  at a triad of cardiovascular, resistance training/muscle work, and flexibility/stretching exercises. We  are all supposed to get a combination of all three of these, although real life can really interfere with our plans many times!  Pick stuff you think you'd want to try or that you've liked in the past. Years ago, when I first started working out, I just started running one day, actually alternated walking and slow jogging, and I liked it so much I  stuck with it and I still do it. I started pumping iron in my living room  using dumbbells I bought in the sporting goods store.

I think it can be overwhelming when you are contemplating all of this, but the main thing is just to get started.  Small steps might even be better, because then you won't be overwhelmed if you jump in and get too gung-ho, like deciding you'll work out 3 hours every day or not at all.  That won't work in the long run. Figure out how much time you have each day (or most days) to spend working out, pick out some stuff you like to do, like the 'mill, or the bike or whatever, and just start doing it. You can continue to read and talk to the trainers and educate yourself about all of this as you are moving along in your program.

If you are trying to lose weight, the "fourth leg" of your stool is going to be your food intake, which you probably already know. I happen to be a low-carb advocate and myself follow a  zero-carb diet plan, which works great for me. I am in the minority around here, however. Most of the posters here stick to high-carb diets and recommend them, although I personally think high-carb intakes  are not that healthy.  But you'd have to do some reading about food and diets and such to figure out what will work for you in the long run.  

One way to start with the  food thing is just to take some small steps to eat healthier food. If you have some bad eating habits, don't try to eat LESS food for  the time being. Just try to eat HEALTHIER food and don't limit your intake.  Trying to do both of these at one time can be an unmitigated disaster for a lot of people. It's just too much change at once. And with food, you really are trying to instill new habits that stick, otherwise the weight comes right back on and all of that time you spend exercising has gone to waste (waist). : )

Avatar universal
I salute barn for a wonderful, very well said, great advice.. :)
Avatar universal
*hearts* VYC. :)
Avatar universal
well, im speechless.. Guess, id rather go back and read some books eh.. lol

have a good day,
don't let the bugs sleep at your bed.. :)
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