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How to Stay Fit and Healthy During Lockdown With a Disability

Having to stay at home during a lockdown and avoid contact with friends and family for months is a tough one to get your head around. It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts and dwell on all the things we are missing out on during this time. Instead, use this time to do things you want to do and are important to you. So one of the things I’m going to focus on is my health. Here are some of the ways I’m staying fit and healthy during lockdown.

Emma using her cough assist machine
Emma using her cough assist machine.

1. Maintain a routine

Routine plays a big part in my daily life, which is mainly due to my disability. Everything from getting out of bed to all my personal care is planned and follows a schedule to some degree. Even though I’m spending all my time at home, I’m still trying to maintain a routine.

Of course, there are days when it doesn’t go to plan and that’s okay, but I find having some kind of structure to my day to be the most effective for me. Although every day is the same right now and it’s almost impossible to distinguish them apart. So I find having a daily routine helpful.

My routine includes set times for:

Sleep

Getting up and going to bed at the same time each day has numerous benefits. A good sleep pattern helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, boosts the immune system and mood, helps improve memory and more. Getting enough sleep is also key to muscle recovery which is vital for me and others with Muscular Dystrophy.

Mealtimes

I like to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time each day. It gives my days structure which is particularly helpful when spending all day every day at home. Set meal times also gives my body the energy it needs to function and stay satisfied throughout the day, especially when I eat nutritious foods. I am also a big fan of meal prepping for the week. Having my meals already prepared keeps me on track and stops me from making bad food decisions.

Homeworking

I’m fortunate to work from home and for the most part, I have set start and finish times. Although on occasion it can be difficult to draw the line and call it a night. I find this particularly difficult being a blogger and freelance writer as I’m often juggling various projects and deadlines at the same time. It’s easy to get caught up in writing and before I know it it’s 11pm at night. This is definitely something I’m actively working on improving.

Rest/relaxation

It is so important to get plenty of rest and allow my body time to recover. Particularly if I’ve been more active as my arms will feel tired and sore from overworking them. Rest is key to give my muscles time to rest and recover. I try and incorporate rest breaks throughout the day to pace myself so I’m not overdoing it all in one go. I also try and stop working at a certain time in the evening. Although it can be tricky if I’m working to make a deadline, but I try and make time to rest, read, watch something etc.

2. Daily exercise

Although I have a muscle-wasting condition, I still need to exercise every day. Exercising helps prevent my muscles from tightening and helps maintain joint range of movement. I can’t move my arms or legs independently so my mum or partner will do my exercises with me.

Doing these gentle exercises and stretches daily helps me feel better. Any movement is good so I’m aware that I must move about regularly rather than sitting at a computer for hours at a time.

A photo collage. First photo shows Emma sitting in her wheelchair in the livingroom. Her mum/carer is holding Emma's arm up in the air to stretch her muscles. The second photo shows Emma and her mum doing her leg stretches.Another part of my daily physio is using my cough assist machine. The cough assist machine is vital to people like me with respiratory muscle weakness who are unable to produce a cough. The device helps me inhale and exhale (expand my lungs) in order to clear secretions and simulate a strong effective cough. It is important that I use this machine daily to help keep my lungs as strong as possible.

Physical activity has many health benefits including boosting the immune system and is good for mental wellbeing which is essential during this coronavirus outbreak. We all have different levels of ability so find what works best for you, no matter how little it may be.

3. Eating a Healthy Diet

I love to eat healthy foods and have so ever since I was very young. For the most part, I try to eat healthily and limit my intake of processed foods. I do also eat treats and ‘vegan junk foods’ too. It’s all about balance and not depriving myself of anything.

Usually, we don’t have a lot of time to experiment and try new things, so I’m using this time at home to work through some of the delicious vegan recipes I had bookmarked or added on Pinterest. As a massive fan of sweet potato, whenever I see them in a recipe I’m sold.

To ensure I drink plenty of water throughout the day I have a large infusion bottle with a fixed straw that I fill with water multiple times a day. The bottle and straw are tall enough that I don’t have to struggle to bend my head down to drink. So I find it easy and super convenient.

I’m also making sure I take my daily supplements including a source of Vitamin D. This is essential when I’m not getting out and about outside as usual. Zinc and vitamin C is amazing for the immune system so I’m ensuring I get plenty of nutrients from my food too.

What are you doing to stay fit and healthy during lockdown? Do you have any tips or advice?

You May Also Enjoy

5 Things I Do Differently Living With Muscular Dystrophy
How To Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible
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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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One Response

  1. There is actually no such thing as clean foods other than washing them. When comes to processed foods it better to say you limit sugar, eat things with fewer ingredients etc as so many things are processed…plant milks, anything frozen, anything in a tin…all processed…I rely on processed foods and there seems to be so much shame in it. 😭

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