It’s weird to be penning the first entry on my new site on my one-year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. This year has seen me embark on some massive quests, both personal and professional while watching my family endure equally large lows. But as I prepare to embark on this site, I start it with the hope that I might be able to take what I’ve learned this year and help others.
Christmas has just ended and with a new year in the offering, and the end of the decade really, one of the big things I want to change is my outlook on my body image and fitness. I don’t want to necessarily be thin, as I know my body will never look like a normal, able person, but I do want to make sure I’m at least keeping myself active and that’s hard to do with any type of physical disability.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, finally feeling the body image issues I didn’t think I’d feel so acutely, I tried to actually get into shape like a “regular” person. Swimming had been successful for me back in Sacramento, so I joined an incredibly expensive gym. Unfortunately, their swimming pool – though accessible – was often crowded with a lot of bulky dude-bros who were total lane hogs. Then I stumbled upon a series of fantastic work-out videos aimed at those with limited mobility. Kym Non-Stop will certainly kick your ass into shape, no doubt. I did her workouts for nearly a month and you’ll definitely work up a sweat.
But, for me, sweating is not my thing. Sweating while sitting is ten times worse than just sweating normally, I’m convinced. I also worried about overexerting my bones and unintentionally hurting myself. So, how does someone who lives in a city that swirls around physical perfection find a comfortable way to at least get their blood pumping? My mom bought me an Apple Watch for my birthday and so far I think it might be what I’m looking for.
Since I don’t use an iPhone (Android forever!), the Watch is purely for workout purposes and I have no complaints so far. Apple is one of the few companies to acknowledge wheelchairs in fitness, having a completely “Accessibility” section marked for wheelchairs. I use their standard workout apps, so it marks how many times I move, how many times I propel my wheelchair, and it also has workouts I can do (I’m officially waiting to start those after the first…along with my diet). Every hour my watch will ping to tell me I should wheel around for a minute and help fill my bar. Not only does this push the competitive person in me who enjoys finishing things, but it urges me to get off my bed and actually do something, a habit I need to break out of.
Alongside those, it can track my heart rate which is great if you’re like me and a total hypochondriac. There are also additional mindfulness apps. So I get reminders to stop and breathe which I want to use more. I have a hard time focusing (I call it adult-onset ADHD), and apps like these compel me to take a break from work that I’m probably not doing and try to center myself.
I can’t say I’ll be great at following the watch or cutting down coffee and soda, but the point is for once I feel I have something guiding me. Where gyms don’t see enough disabled patrons to make a personal trainer feel safe for me, this is that personal trainer. I plan on making 2019 the year I feel I have a grasp on myself.