Paralympic Athlete Michelle Salt Shares Her Low-Risk Workout for Beginners

Michelle Salt is a Canadian Paralympic snowboarding and wakesurfing athlete who received 1st place in the Canadian national finals three years in a row and competed in the 2014 and 2018 Winter Paralympics, placing 3rd overall in 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Don’t Let Injury or Disability Discourage You

Athlete Michelle Salt knows a thing or two about overcoming the odds and not giving up. After a car accident in which she lost 75% of her right leg, she thought recovery was impossible. Yet, she had all the right tools to stay motivated and ASEA supplements to aid her immune health.

Although it can seem intimidating after you’ve sustained an injury or have been dealing with a disability, you don’t need to have full mobility to experience the many health benefits of staying physically active. 

There are still plenty of ways to adapt exercises to suit your needs and allow you to get a healthy dose of daily activity that can boost your mood and give you the physical benefits your body needs. Always remember that any type of exercise will offer you a huge reward in keeping you healthy and thriving. Mobility issues make some forms of exercise more difficult than others, which is why you should always consult your physician before you start. 

Focus on the Essentials

There are three types of exercise that are vital to your health and well-being. Cardiovascular exercises raise your heart rate and increase your endurance. Walking, cycling, dancing, and swimming are all great forms of cardiovascular exercise. Exercise in the water has the added benefit of reducing your risk of muscle or joint discomfort, even if you’re confined to a wheelchair. 

Strength training is another way to build muscle and bone mass, improve your balance, and prevent falls. Upper body strength training is great for those with limited mobility of their lower half and, similarly, if you have upper-body injuries you can focus on your legs and core.

Flexibility exercises can help you enhance your range of motion, reduce stiffness and pain, and prevent injury. Yoga and stretching are low-impact forms of exercise that don’t push you past your limits and help prevent and delay muscle atrophy.

Start Small, Then Work Your Way Forward

When starting a new exercise program, aside from consulting your physician so you can plan around what will work for you, it’s important to start small. Start with an activity you enjoy and then go at your own pace. Personal fitness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Keeping your goals manageable will help you stay positive and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Once you’ve conquered your small fitness goals, you’ll gain body confidence to keep going and then increase your activity level.

Make simple, easy exercise part of your daily life. Scheduling a walk in the evenings after dinner or some yoga before breakfast gives you space in your schedule to prioritize your fitness without feeling discouraged. Stick with it and expect ups and downs! It takes 30 days before a new activity becomes a habit. You don’t have to be perfect and neither does your exercise, you just have to try. 

Stay Safe and Don’t Overdo It

If you experience any pain or discomfort, nausea, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, lightheadedness, or shortness of breath discontinue your workout immediately, then consult your physician. If you continue to experience any of these symptoms after 15 minutes of exercising you can limit your exercise to even 5 or 10 minutes to start with. 

Avoid using an injured body part unless told otherwise by your physician. When your injury is properly healed and you’ve received the go-ahead from your doctor, start slowly and only use lighter weights and resistance. 

Make sure to warm up, stretch, and cool down. Light walking for a couple minutes is a great way to warm up beforehand and cool down after your workout. Drink plenty of water and make sure to wear appropriate clothing, like comfortable walking shoes and clothes that won’t restrict your movement. 

Practice Makes Perfect

The key with any new exercise program is not to give up. We all have to start somewhere and work our way forward. As long as you set an achievable goal and work towards it daily, you’ll be more likely to experience the benefits of physical exercise and reap all the healthy rewards. 

*Those making these statements may have received compensation through the receipt of material goods or remuneration. Results may vary.