Thank you to everyone that joined us on January 3, 2018 for the webinar New Year, New You: Tips for Getting Fit with a Disability. Throughout the month of December 2017, we asked the IncluFit online community to answer the question “What is the #1 barrier individuals with disabilities face in getting fit?”. We received tons of great responses! Here is a sample…
- “Thinking they can’t do it.”
- “Courage to do it!!”
- “No help.”
- “Lack of accessible places and understanding, inclusive-minded staff.”
- “Assumption you will hurt yourself.”
…and many, many more!
It was difficult, but we compiled your responses and determined the top 3 barriers faced by individuals with disabilities in getting fit. In the webinar, we discussed each of these barriers and identified strategies for overcoming those barriers in the new year.
If you weren’t able to join us for the live presentation, you can watch the webinar at any time. Just click the button below to view a recording of the live webinar.
Also, we had some great questions during the Q&A that I wanted to share with everyone. Here is a recap of the Q&A session.
Q: You talked a lot about advocating for yourself at the gym and asking for what you need, but how do I know if what I’m asking for is reasonable?
A: [Jennifer Hobbs] That’s a very good question. First, I want to start by saying advocating for yourself can be incredibly challenging especially if you’re someone who doesn’t like to make waves or is afraid of asking for what you need. So, that can be very challenging in and of itself, just to get up the courage to ask for what you need. Then having the fear of “Is what I’m asking for reasonable or are my expectations skewed? Am I asking for something that’s really not reasonable?” Now, that’s going to depend on what you’re asking for, in what situation you’re in, but I am definitely of the opinion – ask for what you need! However, be willing to have an open conversation with the people. For example, if you’re in the gym and there’s a piece of equipment that would really benefit you that the facility doesn’t have, approach the manager. Have a conversation, but be willing to have a good back and forth. Educate them on why it is beneficial. Help them understand the benefits that it will bring to you and, not just you, but their other clients as well. But, expect that it might not be something that they could do right away. So, always ask. Don’t expect immediate results, but you can, at a minimum, try to work out a plan to see if maybe they could do that in the future. Maybe there’s another option that they could implement right now. So, in my opinion, no request is unreasonable but the important thing is the conversation that you have that you have afterwards.
Q: How can I tell the difference between pain and just discomfort associated with exercise?
A: [Jennifer Hobbs] That’s a tough one. That can be a really challenging one, especially if you live your life with chronic pain. It can be very hard to distinguish what is pain from an injury or condition and what is just general discomfort from using your muscles in a different way or being physically active. In general, anything that causes a sharp, acute, sudden pain that makes you wince or makes you immediately feel like you have to stop, that’s probably an indicator that you should stop. That is, something is exacerbating your injury or condition or potentially causing a new injury. Stop, assess, take a break, come back. The sensations associated with physical activity and exercise feel something like a warmth or a kind of a muscle burn or kind of a gradual buildup of fatigue. That’s indicative of a normal response of your body to exercise, particularly exercise that it may not be used to. So, pain associated with injury is usually more sudden, acute, sharp, extremely painful. Pain associated, pain or discomfort, I don’t want to say pain, but discomfort associated with physical activity is generally a little more gradual, not as sharp, and develops over time. But the best way to really determine that is to set small goals and work up slowly. The more slowly that you work up, adding in exercises to your routine, adding intensity and time you’re going to start to develop the sense of what is pain and what is just regular exercise discomfort.
What are your questions and comments? Let’s continue the conversation – share your thoughts in the Comments section.