Being active can be a real mood booster. Not only can it help someone stay healthy, but it can also be an eye-opener as those taking part realise what they’re truly capable of.
Exercise can be empowering and fun. That said, these types of pursuits don’t come easily to everybody. For example, disabled individuals may doubt their capabilities, feeling that the odds are stacked against them.
However, it can be possible for everyone to enjoy at least some level of activity. While it can mean different things to different people, nobody should be left behind!
So, how can you champion the efforts of those you care about here? Here are some ways to help a disabled loved one be active.
Secure Disability-Friendly Vehicles
It’s possible to get active from home. However, a change in scenery can do the world of good as well!
You can buy, hire, or lease wheelchair accessible vehicles via the Mobility Scheme, with flexible payment terms to fit various budgets. You can secure these vehicles new or used. Allied Mobility is the UK’s leading conversion specialist, determined to ensure disabled people can get around with minimal disruption. Take a look at their stock and reach out to them if you or your loved one have any questions. All of their range has been bestowed with the highest security accreditations.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles typically have a lowered floor, and an electrically-powered lift or a standard foldable ramp can be used. Entrances can be found at the rear or side. Ultimately, these vehicles provide greater autonomy and independence.
It could well be that a trip to a fitness centre or class may no longer seem as daunting with this help. There’s an endless world of fitness-related possibilities here. Even if the vehicle is not in active use, it can be uplifting for your loved one to know they can get active elsewhere if they wish to.
Get Active with Them
There’s room for two in those lovely vehicles! Of course, getting active can be a multi-person endeavour anyway. Why not join them in these efforts?
Most activities are more appealing if a much-cherished friend is in tow. Pick an exercise or sport you can do together, and partake yourself. No doubt they’ll appreciate your company and your willingness to put your money where your mouth is. It can be more touching to show your support, as you’re getting involved yourself, rather than just cheering them on from the sidelines (though that’s also valid).
Many sports have been modified over the years so everybody can join them. This includes, but is not limited to, basketball, cycling, tennis, table tennis, shooting, archery, and kayaking. Swimming can be fine too. Depending on the nature of the disability, it may be best to leave your competitive side at home and focus on spending quality time together.
Share the Latest News
You’re not alone in your efforts to get a disabled person more active. Nationwide initiatives are underway to get people of all backgrounds and body types moving.
It can be worth sharing news of these endeavours. That way, your loved one might feel more inspired, tackling each activity with greater vigour. A good example is the ‘Uniting the Movement’ initiative, which aims to tackle inequalities, facilitate meaningful partnerships, and help everyone play sports and get active no matter who they are.
Some disabled people can feel like activity is beyond their means or that they shouldn’t even try. Show them that others have managed to overcome these assumptions and even surprise themselves! The world of sport and fitness is filled with heroes many people of all ages and backgrounds look up to, as well as organisations that are full of supportive workers and volunteers. All of this positive energy can be infectious.
Document the Experience
Inspirational figures can be a source of strength when a disabled loved one tries to be active. That said, your friend or family member can earn that status too. Documenting their own experiences when being active could help their efforts feel more cathartic.
Perhaps they could start a blog or video diary that records their adventure? That way, they have an outlet where they can vent their concerns. It may also help them see the wood through the trees, so to speak, as they may more often think about the bigger picture of what they’re trying to see. Eventually, your loved one can reflect on their progress and see how far they’ve come.
If comments are enabled on their online content, they may receive support from well-wishers or come into contact with people who have similar backgrounds and experiences. Either of those circumstances can elevate the enjoyment factor of being active and enhance their feelings of inspiration too.
Obviously, courting online attention comes with its risks. Internet trolls can be cruel. Moreover, not everybody is comfortable putting themselves out there. These concerns are valid, and if your loved one expresses them, private journalling might be a better option. That way, their thoughts are just for themselves, and they can still have that experience of defining their journey.
Work with Some Professionals
Helpful people and organisations don’t just exist in news stories. They could be all around you and your loved one, too!
As part of advising wheelchair users on losing weight, the NHS recommend that they approach a general practitioner, as these doctors can recommend legitimate community weight management services and nutritionists. It’s much easier to stay active under doctors’ orders and with a great diet.
You could also seek personal trainers who may make house calls or meet your loved one elsewhere. If that personal trainer shares the same disability as your loved one, even better!
While your company is no doubt valued during these times, opening up the floor to some in-person experts is also a good idea. That way, your loved one will further cement their understanding that anything can be possible here. They’ll hear a wider range of credible opinions too, which can be mentally stimulating in its own right.
Don’t Push Them Too Hard
Being active can be offputting if overly ambitious goals are set. It’s important to understand the weight of your loved one’s disability and not insist they go far beyond their comfort levels.
Remember, being active doesn’t necessarily mean one must become immensely strong. It can just mean one should have a bit of movement every day to shake off the cobwebs and keep off the fat. Realistic expectations are vital, as they can help you and your loved one be on the same wavelength and work together more cooperatively. Being active will be more positive instead of gruelling.
After all, rest days are essential for any exercise regime to thrive. Perhaps your loved ones will be more frequent, depending on their circumstances. Any amount of exercise is better than none, and perhaps they can take on bigger challenges as they get more experienced and fitter. At the start, though, it’s best to go slow and get a feel for what they can comfortably manage.
Being active is also supposed to be fun. If that stops being the case, it can be worth putting your heads together and fine-tuning the process a little bit more. Some exercises may appeal to your loved one more than others. Ultimately, no hard-fast rules need to be set here, and the approach to staying active can undergo constant tweaking for their benefit.