Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Physical challenges dont have to rob you or your loved ones of a full life. Many physically challenged people make great strides in their lives each day. If you want to participate in a marathon, don’t let your physical challenges hinder you.

We have read stories in the newspaper and magazines about accident survivors. They lose limbs or develop mental impairments but continue to reach for their goals in life. Despite bias and other hindrances, they persevere to change the perception of disabled people everywhere. Anyone who saw Noah Galloway the veteran on the last season of Dancing with the Stars will have seen just how much determination can count when it comes to success in life. He also runs marathons and is as fit as a man can be considering he has lost part of an arm and part of a leg.

If a child is born with a disability, in some senses it might be easier, because they do not know any difference-it is the way they are and always have been. But for those who lost a limb or functionality due to an accident or war, it can be very traumatic due to them remembering how things used to be compared with how they are now.

It may seem like life as they know it is over forever. Since they are still alive, though, they owe it to themselves and their family to live the best life possible. This means finding a new normal.  Exercise of any kind can help.

Not everyone needs to run a marathon to be fit, but it is a useful image to remind us that life is not a sprint but a marathon, so for the 80 or 90 years we are on this planet, we all need to make the right decisions to have a meaningful life.

Prosthetic technology has come a long way in the past fifty years to make life without limbs more manageable. But it is also the person’s choice, no matter how much we as caregivers want to help our loved ones. For example, on Dancing with the Stars, Noah Galloway tried a prosthetic arm and absolutely hated it.  His dance partner encouraged him to keep trying, but in the end, he decided to keep on dancing as he was with just the one arm and she supported that decision too.

Other marathoners are physically challenged by paralysis of some kind and participate in a wheel chair. Another thing to remember is that while the physical aspect would be a challenge for them, there is also the mental aspect of running any marathon. It is in part people’s attitudes, and in part one’s own determination to succeed that will keep them going mile after mile. Defying expectations and breaking down assumptions and prejudices is what it is all about.

All marathoners need good coaches and diets to get into a competitive state. That includes a support system to help in the good and bad times. Physically challenged athletes don’t usually need coddling, but rather tough love to know you care and believe they can succeed.

People of all abilities compete in marathons and that includes physically challenged athletes. If you or your loved one wants to compete in a marathon, go for it. Don’t let your physical differences stop you from fulfilling your twenty-six mile dream.

If you or your loved one are not that ambitious, then start out by adding exercise to your daily routine to get fit and feel more empowered. Yoga and tai chi can be done sitting down, for example, and have been shown to have many physical and mental benefits.

The body, mind and spirit connection are important as a person tries to cope with their new normal or the bias they face if they have a disability. Physical activity is also important for caregivers, so they can stay fit and well in order to care for others and avoid burn out. If you have all been sitting around at home way too much, it’s time to get moving. Choose an activity you enjoy and go for it.

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Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
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Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
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Learn more about how people with disabilities and their caregivers can stay fit and healthy.
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