Exercising During a Pandemic

I will be elated once this twilight zone of a year ends. The stress of working from home has caused me additional stress and migraines. After consulting with my primary care doctor about ways to become healthier during the pandemic and limit stress, he recommended several exercises that can easily be done at home in my power wheelchair.  He advised that 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, at least four times a week, can assist with alleviating stress and produce a healthier regiment to lose weight and gain or maintain muscle. The more I thought it over, the more I was on board with the idea of reinventing myself during the pandemic and becoming a better me. There are several reasons why I decided to move forward with the idea of eating better and exercising:

COVID-19 weight – The opportunity to work from home can be a gift and a curse.  When you have kids and a husband that bring you snacks during the day, it can really put a hurting on your figure.

Purpose – When your family or friends look up to you, it’s important that you attempt to be the best you possible. This means being healthy mind, body and spirit.

Setting an example – Kids are always watching, especially when you think they aren’t. I want to set a good example for children and adults who are experiencing the same struggles.

Family – When you love someone, you make the sacrifice to be the best YOU that you can be.

Exercising on a budget means that you must be creative. Since my disease affects the strength in my muscles, it makes moving myself around in a manual wheelchair out of the question, at least when I am starting out. Maybe that’s a goal to aspire to going forward. Let me share with how I have been able to strengthen myself and save money.Instead of purchasing weights, I use canned goods to lift to help strengthen my arms.

  • I started playing tennis with my little ones. I don’t have much use of my arms but after 15 minutes, I am worn out.
  • When I am not at iLevel, I lay the chair back and pretend I am bench pressing my arms and have my husband or kids assist with my leg lifts.
  • I also grab a ball and bounce it against a wall to help with my coordination to gain muscle.
  • I use jump ropes to play a game of tug-of-war with my kids and even my neighbors.
  • I balance a ball on a tennis racket to help with my coordination skills.

I am far from an expert, but I have learned to be creative during a time when you have no choice. I try to avoid short cuts. Instead, I look for alternative ways to exercise and build muscle with everyday activities. No matter what your disability is, just be willing to think outside of the box and put your all in whatever you do. You don’t have to be wealthy to be healthy! However, a little creativity during the pandemic goes a long way. I have lost a total of 19 pounds in a little over 3 months.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.