If you’re like me, either disabled or a little lazy or both, the idea of exercise fills you with dread. The idea of going to the gym, or going jogging or any of the other activities that lead to a healthier lifestyle just don’t appeal. I much prefer sitting on the sofa, watching a good box set, maybe scoffing a bar or two of chocolate. I might do dancing very occasionally, but otherwise the most exercise I do is wheeling my wheelchair to the shops to buy more chocolate. The problem is that now I’ve hit 50 my body is no longer OK with such a level of inactivity. If I want to stay healthy now that I’m middle aged I need to start doing… something! So I thought I’d start trying to get fit… well fitter and I thought I’d take you all on that journey by videoing myself every day in a series I’m calling Fit At Fifty.
OK, that all sounds great but who wants to watch an aging wheelchair user struggle to get fit? Well, with that in mind I promise to keep the films fun, light and aimed at anyone like me who finds the whole idea of activity a real turn off. If you dream of having a para-athletes body, these aren’t the videos for you. But if you want to be a little fitter, a little more active, but don’t know where to start I hope I might help. My first tip to a healthier lifestyle is set yourself goals. I want to be a little thinner, be able to do a little more and to feel a bit more like I did in my youth. Again I don’t want to be competing with David Weir or winning gold at any sport, but I do fancy keeping old age at bay for a bit longer. With that in mind I also set myself the goal of taking part in the mass participation event, Parallel London that’s being held at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford on September 3rd this year. It’s so much more than a sporty day out, with loads to do for all the family, but it features 10k, 5k, 1k, and 100m run/walk/wheel events and an amazing 1k sensory walk too. My plan is to be fit enough to do one of the events, but I’m not saying which yet… not going to commit myself to too bigger a distance until I know how Fit At Fifty is going. I know that when you set yourself goals they have to be achievable, especially early on in your drive to get fit.
Now while I few tips are fine, and trust me much of Fit At Fifty will be me talking to camera as I haven’t worked out how to attach my mobile phone to my chair yet so I can’t wheel and film, I also am planning to do some guides to techniques for getting fitter. One technique that has really worked for me is Sit Yoga. I discovered it by accident while searching for a low impact way of exercising. One of the joys of aging, especially for wheelchair users, is we damage our shoulders. A physiotherapist told me recently that by the age of 50 nearly all people in the UK have some damage to the ligaments and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. I also have arthritis in both shoulders as I use them to do the work of both my arms and legs. You know wheeling my chair takes it’s toll, and after 36 years on wheels the damage is starting to show. So I wanted to find a way of exercising my arms without making any damage worse. Sit Yoga has proved to be perfect. Not only has it given me added strength and flexibility, but it has eased the pain I get from my knackered shoulders. I downloaded a 6 minute Sit Yoga workout aimed at office workers, and adapted it for my needs.
These are the first three videos in the series. I am planning to keep a regular blog as I go, plus if you want to watch the videos as they are up loaded you could follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. They will also all be uploaded to my Youtube channel, and will have subtitles once I’ve battled to transcribe them. In the meantime, remember the mantra for Fit At Fifty is Fitness should be Fun. Join me as I try to get fitter, try some of my ideas if you also want to try to get fitter or you could just laugh as I puff my way to a fitter Mik. I should also point out there will be more cake, coffee and beer involved than in any other fitness video series.