“Exercise doesn’t have to mean working out in a crowded gym. You can try exercising early in the morning to avoid the crowds, or skip the gym altogether. If you can afford it, a personal trainer will come to your home or workout with you at a private studio. Pushing, swimming, or exercising in a class with others who have similar physical limitations can make you feel less self-conscious. There are also plenty of inexpensive ways to exercise privately at home” explains Amy who highlights the benefits of physical activity at all levels.
What activities/sport/exercise do you do?
I’m in the gym three times a week and once a week I attend wheelchair rugby training. Keeping fit and motivated when disabled can be hard at times, but the bigger picture is that you’re not just stuck in a chair and have zero options. When it comes to training, your injury or disability may limit your use of some exercise equipment but there are options to stay active.
Depending on the location and nature of your injury or disability, you may still be able to walk, jog, use an elliptical machine, or even swim using flotation aids. Stationary upright or recumbent bike are other options for cardiovascular exercise. Reducing the weight or level of resistance may mean weight lifting is still an option with home gym facilities designed with quadreplegic needs in mind. Easily adjustable weight discs, a tri-pin hand grip option and height adjustable workout home gyms provide those with mobility issues the chance to still train and take pride in oneself.
What does being physically active mean to you?
Being involved in sport opens up so much more. Meeting people in the same situation, learning from them, and the social side of things is great. Going to the gym, park or swimming pool can be fun, especially if you take along family or friends. Its about engaging in an activity you all enjoy and it’s also an opportunity to meet people and make friends.
I enjoy the competitive aspect team sports offers also. I’ve represented my country on many occassion both ahome and abroad in wheelchair rugby. I travelled to the UK and France last year alone. I had such an amazing weekend in Paris at the Women’s Cup 2017. My team won the silver medal after playing against some of the best players in the world! I also met some awesome, like-minded ladies, and had an absolute blast, both on & off the court. It was so much fun, and I hope I get the opportunity to go again next year! I was humbled to be captain for this women’s tournament also.
How and why did you get active?
I’ve always been into sports, even as an able bodied person. When I ended up in a wheelchair, sport took a back seat. It took a year for me to accept my new situation and being in the chair to start with as I didn’t want to be seen as a disabled person. I took up table tennis to get out of the house but found it boring and then moved onto wheelchair rugby. That was 6 years ago and I’ve never looked back.
What do you enjoy about it?
I feel alive when I play my sport. When we train, there is no disability. We are just normal people doing something we love. I encourage all wheelchair users to be active. It doesn’t have to be a sport, but just get out and push your chair, smell the fresh air and enjoy the sense of being outdoors.