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Adaptive Workouts: Fitness Training for Individuals with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities often must turn to physical therapy to help with exercise, but this can be costly and limiting. However, another option has recently taken off—adaptive fitness. This type of fitness is explicitly geared towards people with disabilities. These disabilities can range from physical and mental ailments, and there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer when it comes to these workouts. For optimal results, an individualised plan is the best choice. 

Adaptive workouts are beneficial in many ways: they can increase cardio strength, help build core muscle strength and help with mental well-being. In this article, we will outline a few examples of adaptive workouts and provide tips to help get you started on your adaptive fitness journey. 

Different Types of Adaptive Workouts 

Many workouts can be adapted to suit disability or traumatic injury needs. Some of the most popular adaptive movements are outlined below, with modifications to help you maximise your workout. With the right equipment or adaptations, you’ll soon discover many exercises to help keep you active and healthy. 

  • Strength and General Fitness: Maintaining bone density and muscle strength is essential, especially to avoid any atrophy issues. You can modify many strength and core fitness activities to lift weights or adequately build and maintain your core muscles.  
  • Engage in Water Activities: Water workouts are excellent for adaptive exercises because the water gives you a natural buoyancy, easing the impact on your limbs. Light swimming, water aerobics or even practising lunges in the water can help work out your muscles in a low-risk setting.  
  • Yoga For Your Body and Mind: Yoga has numerous physical and mental benefits, and it is an easily adaptive form of exercise. You can choose which muscles to work out and which to relax with yoga. You can even use chairs, yoga straps or yoga blocks to help further accommodate poses. The quiet, meditative space is good to clear your mind and enjoy your practice. 
  • Join a Team: If you are an individual with a disability who still enjoys physical activity, why not join a group of like-minded people? Many team sports like basketball or volleyball can be adapted with wheelchairs or other accommodations to help you safely get the exercise you need. Plus, the connections you make might even provide other exercise opportunities. 

No matter the disability, there is always a way to create an exercise plan with the right mindset. Staying physically active will help you feel mentally well and emotionally uplifted.

How To Get the Most Out of Adaptive Workouts

As with any exercise, there are vital components to help make a workout plan more efficient. Consider the following tips when starting your adaptive fitness plans. 

  • Individualise Your Plan: Different individuals with disabilities will all require a specialised plan to help cater to specific needs or injuries. Some people may need to adjust to workouts in a wheelchair, while others might need to cater to a missing limb. When creating your plan, consider what accommodations or restrictions you might need to incorporate into your program. 
  • Speak With An Expert: Some trainers are better suited for adaptive fitness plans. Find someone with prior experience working with individuals who have required adaptive workouts in the past. These trainers will have specialised knowledge to help better prepare you for safer training.  
  • Use Specialised Equipment: Adaptive fitness centres will have specialised machines or equipment that you can quickly adapt to your needs. When creating your workout plan, ensure the type of equipment you’ll need is readily available.  

With the right training plan and mindset, you can easily start your adaptive fitness workouts and start feeling physically and mentally stronger.

Let Us Help You Move Well

Our team has years of training and aims to bring compassion and professionalism to your workout every time. At MoveWell, fitness & health is our top priority. We will work closely with you to create a training plan that meets your needs and helps you succeed. 

Our individualised workout regimes will help you gain confidence and help you safely build and retain muscle mass and core strength. Don’t allow your disability to control your physical health. Together, we will work to create a happy, healthy you.

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