Why Physical Activity Matters
Physical activity holds a very special place in my life. If I wasn’t physically active, both before and after my spinal cord injury, I would not have met close to the number of people I have been introduced to through going to the gym and playing sports up to the national level. I wouldn’t be motivated to set new goals on a weekly basis; nor would I be as mobile or have the strength for independent, everyday living. I would more likely be sitting on the couch not wanting to improve my physical health and well being.
There’s not a day that goes by when I just want to sit around and do nothing. When I wake up each morning I want to go to the gym, get out on the track, ride my ATV or Snowmobile, or even take a "stroll” around town. Being physically active has helped me improve my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image. It has enabled me to develop new skills, and to put these skills into practice in the pursuit of goals. One of these goals was becoming Canada’s first paraplegic to race motocross. Once I achieved that goal, I felt I was back to the life I had before my spinal cord injury, doing exactly what I did before and what my friends were still doing.
I have inspired people to get and stay physically active by not letting my disability slow me down. My Para-athletics training partner hadn't been allowed to do physical activity that involved contact because of blood thinners he was using to help with blood clots. He had played wheelchair basketball for ten years before being told he had to slow down. I had him come out and volunteer with wheelchair basketball camps and demonstrations, although he was unable to play. then, I invited him to come to a track practice. He started out by just doing a half lap. Within 2 weeks he did a full lap, and within a month he could do two laps followed by a small workout. Now he does four laps (warm up and cool down) and 75% of the workout I do in the track session. He wants to be able to push to the same amount I currently do by next track season. If I can motivate one person to get more active and improve their physical health, I can’t imagine what limits there is to getting more people physically active on a regular basis.