LOVE. That four-letter word that inspires writers to write, songs to be melodic, and spurs the most introverted individual to come out of his shell all in its name. LOVE.
For some, including me, my love is getting a good full body workout in at the gym, it’s good for the soul. The problem I encountered was that I was always apprehensive to use the weight machines. My method of using them requires a little more assistance than others since I am in a wheelchair usually while lifting.
I also have to contort my body in a way that will accommodate my hands to be able to hold onto the bars. My hands aren’t able to pronate which means I can’t have my palm face up (I am terrible at the hand-slap game!) and so it is a challenge to give my full body the workout I want to give it. Add to that, that I want to do things as independently as possible, and the weight machines and I didn’t get to see each other as much as I would have liked.
Then, my friends at the YMCA changed all that. Different Y’s started teaching me how to use the machines so that I could more easily attain my fitness goals. And a few years ago, they built the Mary Free Bed YMCA in Grand Rapids, Michigan and made it completely wheelchair accessible. Not only is the entire building wheelchair-friendly, but they have weight machines made specifically for those people in wheelchairs!
2 summers ago, the Mary Free Bed YMCA kindly invited me and my wonderful trouble-making pals from the Conductive Learning Center to visit them for one of the weeks of our 5-week intensive program. That week, changed the way I do workouts.
The YMCA staff, along with the Conductors (therapists/teachers) of the Conductive Learning Center, worked with all of us to figure out the best method to get the most out of our workout – regardless of our different special needs. It was a game-changer for me. To have access to equipment that I could use independently and with minimal assistance was a great experience. Now, maybe I can put my application into the “Big Guns Club” 😉 I guess you could say it’s a weight lifted off my shoulders (see what I did there?)
This Valentine’s Day, I hope you get to do what you love best….time for me to go to the gym.
Taking On Life One Step at a Time,