Fitness is an important part of your personal health and well-being. Working with special needs individuals can sometimes create challenges for caregivers when creating a nutrition and wellness plan. Many individuals who have physical or intellectual disabilities lack strong functional fitness skills that can help with mobility and independence. Some of them may have sensory issues that make it difficult for them to feel comfortable in a noisy gym or a health club with harsh lighting. Modifying and making adaptations for individuals with special needs can help with inclusion of all people at all fitness levels.
If you plan to be a health fitness instructor, chances are high that you will one day meet someone with a disability that needs help getting started with a personal fitness program. Each individual will need to be assessed to determine what types of modifications or accommodations need to be made to help your client reach their personal fitness goals. How to personal train may differ between clients depending on what level of support they need.
Someone with poor muscle tone would benefit from learning how to use an exercise ball. Exercise ball movements are low-impact, done close to the ground – reducing the risk of falling, and also great for someone with sensory issues due to the feeling and texture of the exercise ball. Exercise balls can help improve stability, increase core strength and can help improve functional fitness. Exercise balls can also improve balance, increase flexibility, and can help alleviate lower back pain by activating the abdominal muscles for better posture.
Someone who is bound to a wheelchair can still benefit from personal fitness. Light weights can be used for upper body workouts to help preserve muscle tone and improve upper body strength. Light weights can also be used to help protect bone density and improve bone health. A personal trainer that has worked with rehabilitation can help you create a personal fitness plan to improve personal health and fitness if you have limited mobility.
Swimming and water aerobics are another low-impact exercise that is good for individuals who have limited mobility or sensory disorders. The pool provides a safe and low-impact environment that can strengthen and tone without putting strain on the joints or muscles. Individuals with sensory disorders enjoy the splashing and movements of the water. If you have a child with a sensory disorder, swim lessons can be beneficial as a healthy outlet for energy and for sensory needs.
Yoga can also be enjoyed by individuals with special fitness needs. Yoga can focus on breathing and meditation for relaxation and calming benefits. Yoga can also focus on flexibility for those that want a bigger challenge. Being in the moment and focusing on the connection between body and spirit can improve mental and emotional health and wellness as well as personal fitness.
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