They say sitting to much is our generation's smoking but what about for someone like me who has a disability that hinders their ability to stand for long periods or just plain move? I have a physical disability known amyoplasia which is a common form of arthrogryposis. In my case I cannot bend my knees fully (about 45-60 degree angle). I tend to hunch but I could straighten my back. My right foot is turned outward a bit and my balance is ok but not great. From what I have been told, unless I have more surgeries or get in a bad accident, I should not deteriorate like those with MS. My condition makes it difficult for me to move, although I can walk fine if I fall I cannot get up. However if I fall at home I could always use furniture to crawl up and get back up to stand. So because of that I don't walk as much as I probably should. Recently in the past few years I have taken a interest in technology but I'm worried because of all the recent studies and reports about sitting that I am sitting too much. Using a standing desk may help but my feet start to hurt after a few hours of too much standing. Any ideas to help counteract the problem of sitting too much?
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I'm going to preface this with the fact that I am not a physical therapist, nor am I a personal trainer. Before embarking on any type of exercise regimen, I do recommend you talk to your doctor and quite possibly get a physical therapist if you (or your family) can afford it. The good news is that it seems like your condition is not degenerative. My daughter's friend has a rare form of MS that inhibits the body's ability to rebuild muscle after exercise. He also needs help getting up if he falls.
Based on the general description of what you have, and a quick reading of what Amyoplasia is, working the lower body is going to be a challenge. This is why I recommend a physical therapist. They may be able to help you compensate better for the limitations in your range of motion.
It sounds like several forms of aerobic training just aren't going to work for you. That means you'll have to be a lot more creative. Here's the good news: the heart doesn't know whether you are using your legs or your arms to move. It just knows it has to pump more blood. You just need to get your heart rate up, but still be able to talk while exercising.
A couple possibilities would be:
Here your options are a bit more open, particularly since you are going to be supported in some capacity. If the disability is strictly in the lower body, I recommend the use of machines for exercising the legs. While I love exercises like squats and deadlifts, those aren't going to work for you. (You might be able to do sumo deadlifts, but I'd wait a bit before you attempt them). If your upper body is not afflicted by the amyoplasia, then I would attempt to use free weights while in a seated or laying position.
Any of the machines with something to sit on or lay on should be quite safe for you. You'll at least want to get strong enough so that you can have more independence. You might need some forearm crutches to move around in the gym, and you can use them to help you get up and down. Don't be scared of the weight room. Most everyone there is just trying to get stronger or look better. You can make some good friends there. Your initial goal would be to be able to stand up and sit down at will--even if you are using something to help you to transition. If you spend enough time there just putting in work, people will come to respect you.
Disabilities just means some things are harder for you than they are for other people. The challenge is to find what you can do, and what you enjoy doing. Physical therapists help you either regain lost mobility, or make better use of the body you have. Finding a good one will help you be as independent as you can be, and help you live your life as fully as you can.
While you have some physical limitations, the biggest limitation everyone has is what they allow themselves to do. Everyone is capable of improving themselves in some way. The more you understand what your limitations truly are, the smarter you can be about improving yourself.
The bottom line is that moving regularly in some fashion is going to help your heart work better, use your calories better, keep your blood pressure down, and in general improve your overall health. Find what you can do now, and look to improve on that over time. You might not ever be on the basketball team, but you'll be a more confident person.