A new year brings new goals, and staying fit is one of them. Staying fit is important for your health and well-being, but it can be a problem if you’re physically challenged, especially in the colder months. That’s why boccia player Georgina Moore has put together five ways to stay fit in the winter if you have a disability.
As a boccia athlete, I have to stay as fit as possible all year round, but cold and dark months can be difficult. There is a lack of motivation to go out to exercise, and this is even more evident now that the cost of living has become so high and Covid cases are on the rise again.
Exercise has been proven to improve our physical and mental health, so everyone should be as active as possible.
Living my life with a severe disability has meant that I have had to adapt my fitness regime to my abilities. And I still feel my level of Covid anxiety.
I’m sure many of you are in the same position as me, so here are my top tips for maintaining your fitness level at home. So don’t forget to get advice from the experts.
1. Resistance band
As an athlete with limited range of motion, resistance bands or TheraBands are the cornerstone of my fitness regime. They are relatively inexpensive and can be attached to fixed objects around the house.
Those with handles are attached to cupboard doors, hanging frames, and toilet handrails. They are all solid construction that won’t pull (which is very important for safety).
Some bands do not have handles and are tied to the back of the wheelchair or clipped under the feet. You can also ask someone else to hold it.
Once the band is secured, you can pull the band in different directions to perform gentle stretches.
The bands also vary in strength, so some are much more difficult to pull than others. You can also use your legs, feet, neck, or back to stretch.
There are some great videos on YouTube, but I really like WheelPower’s videos, like Ella’s Wheelchair Workout Video 6: Resistance Bands Mix Up. You can also apply for some resistance bands for free through their website.
If you want to invest in more advanced equipment, Fusion Wheel – All-in-one Portable Wheelchair Gym In the Disability Horizons shop.
2. Weight training
From dumbbells to kettlebells to serious weightlifting benches, there’s a huge selection of weights you can buy for your home.
The good thing about weights is that you can choose from a variety of sizes and formats to suit your abilities. It is very useful when you want to strengthen or maintain certain parts of your body. This could be your legs or your upper body.
I use 2kg dumbbells. You can’t lift dumbbells very far, but you’re still gaining muscle mass.
I also have Velcro wrist weights, which aren’t very heavy, but are great for strapping on and doing strength exercises while doing your daily activities. Alternatively, you can wear them on your wrists and ankles to help you stretch.
You can purchase a pair of Stepforwarder Ankle/Wrist Weights with a variety of weight options on Amazon.
3. Aerobic exercise
Both my heart and spine surgeons advised me to try some form of aerobic exercise, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, to get my heart rate up.
This is very important for our overall health, but can be very difficult to achieve if your range of motion is restricted. I am using a hand bike purchased from It can also be used with your feet, and it stands on its own, so you can adjust it to the position you need.
Aim for at least 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Start low and gradually increase the time, frequency and/or load.
I love to set myself challenges like running slowly for 2 minutes, then sprinting for 30 seconds and then repeating. I have a digital version of my bike that gives me a lot of information like distance and revs, so I really enjoy setting my own goals.
Other cardio exercises you can do at home to get your heart pumping include walking, pushing a manual wheelchair, using a portable rowing machine, and doing sitting aerobics. Again, for fun, you can set goals and challenges for yourself.
If you own a gaming console with fitness games such as Wii Sports or Wii Fitness, this is also a way to get your heart rate up, but there are so many other ideas available that you should only buy this one. there is no. there.
The Disability Horizons Shop has several options to meet your budget and needs. pedal exerciser and the deluxe hand exerciser.
If you have trouble gripping the handlebars, you can use special equipment such as: Active hand gripping aid.
4. Sitting Pilates
There are many ways to do gentle stretches, including sitting, lying down, and standing. Before lockdown, I was doing a sit-down Pilates class and she taught me different stretches to help me adapt to my disability.
I also purchased a Pilates ball. This is a small inflatable ball that can help you stretch. Plus, there’s a great seated pilates video my personal his trainer sent me during lockdown, designed for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Pilates and yoga are also combined with deep breathing and mindfulness exercises. A Boccia physiotherapist from the UK gave us a very insightful session on deep breathing techniques and how this can benefit our health. It’s completely free and anyone can do it anywhere!
I also really like Wim Hof’s breathing exercise videos on YouTube. This is for different levels. I was skeptical at first, but it really makes me feel better.
5. Indoor sports
Participating in sports during the winter can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a garden or large indoor space. This is one of the reasons why I recommend boccia. A fully comprehensive Paralympic ball game involving throwing, kicking, and using ramps to get the ball as close to the jack as possible.
The game is similar to a bowl, but you have to be seated to play and the ball is soft leather. Boccia in a hurry he does not need to buy a set. You can use stuffed socks or soft balls.
During lockdown, I designed a lot of fun challenges that people can do at home.these videos are mine Boccia club Twitter page.
If you want to visit your local boccia club, check out Boccia England online. It’s an indoor sport, usually low cost to join a club, and anyone can join!
We hope you’ve gotten some tips for staying healthy at home this winter. Whatever you decide to do, start slow and increase gradually, and remember to check with your doctor first if you are unsure.
Learn more about disability vision…