Blog #1: Sonja
By: Sonja Ast
It’s May, and summer’s just around the corner. There’s nothing that gets me more excited than being outside and feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin with a soft breeze and the smell of flowers in full bloom. Sometimes, having nature pouring in through my window is enough to get me excited about it; however, we are living in a world that’s forever changing and it’s easy to be sucked into a couch and watch Netflix or TV while figuring out how best to use our time amidst this crisis. I get it. It’s hard. Cabin fever started settling in for me a month ago under the stay-at-home order and now a safer-at-home order. It has me all antsy and just wanting to go out to be amongst family and friends.
In honor of national health and fitness month, I would like to share what I’ve been doing to stay active and healthy to keep me from losing my sanity entirely.
What’s really helped me during this unprecedented time is having a sense of normalcy by sticking to a routine. Before this pandemic, my simple routine consisted of waking up, transferring into my manual wheelchair, getting ready, eating breakfast, and going out the door to work as a fitness specialist at Lakeshore Foundation. Currently, I do all of that except now, I’m fortunate enough to work from home. What a drastic change that was and who knew it was so difficult to stay focused while being bombarded with distractions?
Outside of work, I like to maintain my health and fitness in two ways, from food and exercise. Because summer is nearly upon us, I generally like to eat lighter, by having more salads and fruits. I prefer to feel light and ready to move rather than to feel bloated and heavy. I also like to stay as active as possible either through cardio or strengthening, and this time has forced me to be innovative when finding ways to exercise using household items. I’ve used a big container of Tide Pods, water bottles, and canned goods as light weights at home. What I really like to focus on is cardio exercises because it requires no equipment. Moving my arms overhead, out in front, or extended to the sides are some examples. The easiest cardio exercise of all though is to just push my wheelchair.
I could really go on and on about the kinds of exercises I do, but what I want to focus some time on are the reasons why it’s important for me to do all these things during this time. To put it plainly, I’ve been feeling stressed and having a routine and exercising helps me alleviate that stress. I also do it so I can maintain strength and endurance while completing my activities of daily living (ADL). My shoulders and arms are like a person without disabilities’ legs and are vital for every aspect of my life. It is crucial that I keep them strong and balanced. I also do it for my family, so they don’t have to worry about me and know that I’m taking care of myself.
All I can really do now is focus on what I can control, and what I put in my body and exercise is something I can control so that’s what I’ll continue to do.