90 chapter 5: Taking care of your body
Some women enjoy dancing...
...or playing a sport.
For many women with disabilities, swimming and moving in the water is a very
good way to exercise. Because your body weighs less in the water, women who have
a hard time moving or walking can often move better in the water. Or they have less
pain in the water. Swimming is the best exercise for someone with arthritis.
Make sure the water is not
too cold. Cold muscles can
get hurt more easily.
Lifting heavy objects over
and over again can help
make your muscles and
If you use a wheelchair, try to push it around your community by yourself.
If this is not possible, try lifting objects (such as rocks, cans of food, or a bottle
filled with water) over and over again. This will help keep the muscles and bones in
your shoulders and arms strong.
How to lift: Before you lift, sit up as straight and tall as you can. Take a deep
breath in, and then out. As you blow out, pull your shoulder blades back toward
your spine as you lift the object. Take another deep breath in as you hold the object,
and then blow out as you lower the object back down slowly.
Stretch Your Muscles
Stretching your muscles makes them more flexible, so you can bend and move
more easily. For many women with disabilities, stretching regularly means they feel
less pain. Stretching also helps prevent injuries.
Always stretch before you begin hard work or exercise. Stretching
and starting gently will help keep you from hurting yourself and
hurting your muscles. It is also a good idea to stretch after doing
exercise or hard work. Stretching can also help keep your body
flexible, and prevent pain and weakness as you grow older.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007