by John Samuel
I have been social distancing myself from the gym for years, but it had nothing to do with COVID-19 or any other virus. For me, working out at home has been the norm for the past several years. As I was losing my sight, transportation became a major barrier as did other steps to staying active.
Luckily, for me, most of my twenties and early thirties were spent in urban settings, where I had a gym convenient to me in my apartment building, on campus, or walking distance to my home. Although I faced some accessibility challenges on-site and was limited to a handful of machines or areas where I felt comfortable, it was better than nothing.
However, when I moved back to North Carolina, I found myself not living near a gym that I could easily access, for the first time in many years. I had lost significant sight that prevented me from running in my neighborhood, and I needed a partner to take out my tandem bike. (My wife made it clear that she was never going to ride with me!)
I allowed these removable obstacles to be my excuse for not exercising, which put me in the nearly 70th percentile of adults with disabilities who were able to do aerobic physical activity, who either did not do enough or did nothing at all.
Experts from the CDC say that working-age adults with disabilities who get no aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely to have cancer, diabetes, stroke or heart disease than those who get the recommended amount of physical activity.
I saw this first-hand at work, where we lost five blind team members to such health-related issues. This turned out to be the wake-up call I needed.
Over the past year, I have made it a point to be conscious of my health and wellness, and come up with a workout regime that I can do at home. This includes doing push-ups, pull-ups, and riding my stationary bike – all of which I can do in the comfort of my bedroom (early enough to have a full workout before the kids wake up).
My hope is that this home fitness craze will rub off on others with disabilities, and that fitness companies who are trying to capitalize on the fact that people are now stuck at home will think about the twenty plus million people with disabilities that could be clients- even after we stop social distancing ourselves.
As I write this story, my three-year-old has come up with his own workout routine of sprinting laps around the house. It’s never too early to learn about wellness and how it is essential to all of our everyday lives.
Fitness industries can easily become accessible online at the least, with the help of our consultancy services. If interested in welcoming another population to your fitness families, Email us at info@LCITech.com.