Guest post from Kris Saunders-Stowe of Wheely Good Fitness, who runs exercise classes for both disabled and non-disabled people in Herefordshire. He’s helping us promote Steptember, the fun fitness challenge where you can raise money for Scope.
For some people exercise is a dirty word, conjuring up images of sweaty, unfriendly gyms, intimidating perfect physiques and lots of hard work, sweat and tears. This can be true! However, it’s just one side of the fitness world, and not at all reflective of what it’s all about.
Every movement we perform in daily life, from carrying shopping and lifting a wheelchair into the car to opening a door or cleaning our teeth, is exercise.
And the definition of success is different for every person – one person’s desire to lift a 40kg dumb-bell is just as valid as another person’s desire to lift and hold their cup of morning coffee.
Step away from the stereotyped image of exercise, and you see that it’s about looking after your body to ensure that it is healthy and able to support you in your daily life.
Disability and fitness
Disability and exercise aren’t usually seen as going hand in hand. Yet for disabled people, getting the right exercise is all-important – otherwise, you’ll lose strength and flexibility and become less and less active.
Another reason for the negativity around exercise and disability is one forced upon us by society. Disabled people are delicate, we should be careful, we’re not allowed to do this and that. Health and safety!
We only have to look at Paralympics to see that that’s not true. But lots of disabled people can relate to being turned away from a gym. Or they’re only allowed to take part in an over-70s class or similar (which is silly in itself – older people resent being pigeon-holed by their years rather than their abilities!).
At Wheely Good Fitness, we like to challenge these preconceptions by running modern, proactive and high energy classes for people of varying abilities.
We do this because there’s a severe lack of suitable multi-ability classes out there – classes where disabled people actively take part with the group and have the same experience as the rest. There is a huge need for leisure facilities to start making disability fitness an integral part of their programmes.
Whether you’re disabled or not, we’re all the same – our muscles need maintaining, our hearts need looking after, our minds need challenging and our weight managing. I want to encourage more people to take part in exercise on any level, and that’s why I and some of my clients are supporting Steptember.
This month of activity is about increasing the amount of physical activity you do, in whatever way you prefer, whilst also raising money for Scope. You might want to take 10,000 steps a day, or the equivalent using a wheelchair, but there are dozens of other activities that also count.
We’re also releasing our first ever Wheel-Fit home exercise DVD for Steptember, with £1 from every copy sold going to Scope.
Remember, we all have something we can do to get fit – and we can all improve our abilities, mood, energy levels and fitness through exercise. Whether you’re lifting dumbbells or tins of beans, doing a marathon or wheeling to your front door and back, it all makes a difference!
Sign up for Steptember to get fit this autumn – and raise money for Scope! You can do it alone or with friends or colleagues.