Getting up and getting active is easier said than done. It’s easy to make excuses why we feel we can’t be more active, especially for us amputees. Lack of mobility, pain, exhaustion, muscle weakness, prosthetic fit, new amputation, the list goes on and on. Also, life’s everyday activities like work, children, lack of time, can lead us to tell ourselves we can’t be more active. A lot of the time, our reasons for not being active are the exact reason we need to be more active.
Cardio is short for cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise. Cardio uses large muscle groups continually over a period of time, to elevate our heart rate. Examples of cardio are: walking, running, swimming, biking, even pushing a lawn mower. When you do cardio, your heart and breathing rates become elevated. Some of us would look at this list and say, “As an amputee I can’t physically perform some of these forms of cardio.” In the video accompanying this blog will give you simple cardio exercises that you can do, and how to modify the exercises to fit your abilities.
The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. When your body uses up your surplus of calories your body starts burning fat. Your surplus of calories is the extra calories you eat that are not used for body function or energy throughout the day. If you don’t use up those calories it gets stored as fat. Imagine extra fat being tucked under your arms, in your stomach, on your legs and everywhere else you want to get rid of it. If you do cardio and you burn all the extra calories your body doesn’t need you start burning fat. This also means you will increase your muscle tone and increase your metabolic rate, or how many calories your body burns at rest.
Do you find yourself having a hard time breathing, feeling exhausted during or after simple activities? Do you feel like you are not strong enough or feel too weak to perform some tasks? When you do cardio it makes you healthier. Your heart becomes stronger making it possible to pump blood through your circulatory system more efficiently, delivering oxygen to your muscles. Your heart and lungs are a muscle they to need to be worked just like the rest of your body. The benefit of cardio, or working the lungs and heart, is that it’ll help you breath deeper, take in more oxygen, and strengthen from the delivery of oxygen. His means your endurance level will increase and everyday tasks will become easier. Before you know it, you are doing things you never thought could ever do again, or like me, I found myself trying things I never would of thought of trying.
Cardio also makes your body produce “feel good” hormones that will help ease the symptoms of depression and fatigue as well as hormones that decrease appetite. Cardio improves your outlook on life because you are getting stress relief from these same hormones.
After years of recovery and building my cardiovascular system, I am now able to do any activities I choose to. I can run, jump, lift weights, balance, and even became a personal trainer and nutrition coach. Exercise has given me the “can do” attitude
Now here is the scary truth: inactivity can be just as bad for you as smoking. Estimates show that 5.3 million deaths around the world were caused by physical inactivity. By comparison cigarette smoking is estimated to cause 5 million deaths worldwide each year.
Physical inactivity ranks 4th in major risk factors for death, more than high blood pressure, tobacco use, and high cholesterol. 6% of heart disease, 7% of type 2 diabetes and about 10% of colon and breast cancers are linked to lack of activity. Also, obesity, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression, and anxiety are linked to a lack of physical activity.
As soon as you get out of your chair your blood sugar improves, and your blood cholesterol and triglycerides will improve consistently. Every time you get up it gets better. Every time you sit down it gets worse. Inactivity plays a role in many chronic diseases. In the US, roughly 41% of adults don’t get enough physical activity.
I hope this will encourage you to get going and keep going! I am always here for help. I’ll check on you next month to see if you are sticking to your resolution. In the meantime, visit our Facebook page at Facebook.com/rushfoot. Make sure to LIKE our page and visit regularly for upcoming blog posts, informative videos, and to meet and chat with all your favorite RUSH® Rebels, ReBELLES and Rascals.
To contact Jenny: