What's YOUR Obstacle?
By Kelly Bonner
The numbers are staggering; only 10 percent of individuals with a disability exercise. People with a disability were twice as likely to be obese compared to the general population, and 87 percent of a sample size of over 2000 individuals reported having at least one secondary condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. (Kinne et al.) When asked, individuals with a disability reported transportation, cost, and not knowing where to exercise as the leading barriers to being physically active. (Rimmer et al.) Another study found that internal barriers like self-efficacy and motivational factors played a large role in exercise maintenance for individuals with a disability (Kinne et al.).
While the barriers may be different, not exercising for whatever reason seems to be pretty universal. From the individual who can’t find an accessible gym, the person who doesn’t know what to do, or the one who just doesn’t enjoy exercising, they will all experience the same “side effects” from the lack of physical activity in their life. So, how can we change that?
The goal is 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. How can we get there and avoid all these pitfalls? First and foremost I think we have to look outside the box and get creative! Maybe those 30 minutes don’t have to be done in a gym, and maybe you don’t have to have an exercise science degree to figure out what you can do. What if those 30 minutes could be done anytime, anywhere, doing something that you actually enjoy doing?
It could be as simple as working in your garden, pushing through the mall (without stopping for window shopping) or just taking your dog for walk. It’s summer; the sun is shining and we no longer have our winter excuses. You can go out and play tennis or basketball. Thankfully courts tend to be fairly accessible no matter where you go. So what could you do?
It might just be a matter of changing our mentality from thinking of them as barriers to thinking of them as excuses. Webster’s dictionary defines excuse as “to try to remove blame from.” What if we removed the blame from all these barriers and put the responsibility on ourselves? After all, it is our health that is at stake.
If you have been wondering if you could try something new like visiting your local gym for the first time, or you have some other idea in mind to start being active, consider this your approval to go out and give it a try. We will be your biggest cheerleaders as you take on the challenge of making yourself active!
We would love to know what ways you have found to be active this month. Comment below and who knows, maybe the way you find to be active will help someone else discover how they can be active as well.