Living An Active Lifestyle

Living an active lifestyle—traveling, participating in sports, and enjoying the outdoors—takes energy, especially if you’re a lower-limb amputee. Studies have shown that below-knee amputees who wear prostheses use more energy to walk or run than those who do not have an amputation. Above-knee amputees and bilateral leg amputees who wear prostheses use even more energy. This means you’ll tire very easily if you’re not physically fit.

The problem is that getting or staying in shape is notoriously difficult for most people. Even those who begin an exercise regime often give up soon afterward. The following are several tips to help you improve your chance of success:

Set a goal.

Pick an activity that you like.

If you are interested in nature, for example, you might want to take up hiking. If your exercise regime consists of something you hate, you’ll dread it whenever it’s time to do it.

Participate in more than one fitness activity.

This will help you gain a wider range of benefits and prevent boredom. In addition to hiking, for example, ski, play soccer, practice yoga, or do some other activity you enjoy. The main thing is to keep moving and developing your strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.

Take advantage of everyday activities as exercise opportunities.

Instead of parking near the entrance of a store, park at the end of the lot so you’ll have to walk farther. Don’t take the elevator; take the stairs. Rake your own leaves.

Determine if you’re exercising at the right time.

Some people will stick with a morning routine better; others may do better at other times. Whatever time you choose, make a regular schedule for it.

Exercise with a friend.

It will be more fun, and you can encourage each other or hold each other accountable.

Make it a competition.

It’s fun to be a winner, so a little friendly competition with a friend should make things more exciting.

Monitor your progress.

Every small success will help spur you on.

Reward yourself for your successes.

Telling yourself that once you reach a goal, you’ll give yourself something you’ve been wanting for a long time may give you that last little boost you need.

Don’t let set-backs stop you.

If you give up for a while, don’t berate yourself and lose your momentum. Excuse yourself, and start back immediately.

Do something else while exercising.

To take better advantage of time, try exercising while watching television or listening to music or an audiobook.

Take advantage of time that would otherwise be wasted.

For example, when you are microwaving food or brewing tea, walk around inside your house.

Join a gym.

While this is certainly not necessary, 2016 research by Iowa State University suggests that those who have a gym membership exercise much more.

Change the mindset that sees exercise as a chore on a short-term to-do list.

Ethel Frese, DPT, at Saint Louis University, suggests that we should instead think about how our daily exercise contributes many health benefits over our lifespan.

Develop an exercise habit.

No doubt, establishing a habit is difficult, but it’s certainly the key to ultimate success.

This article is for informational purposes only. For specific advice about your situation, consult a qualified healthcare professional.

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