Severely Disabled yet on the Treadmill

I found myself at the gym on 3 consecutive days last week. I was inspired to get into better shape by my wife as she is very consistent with her exercise.  I’m fortunate in that my weight doesn’t fluctuate, my health is terrific and I feel good almost every day despite inconsistent exercise.

Consistency is my aim as I know I can feel even better if I exercise more frequently. My body is already starting to feel stronger.

On the third day, a BIG dose of inspiration hit me. It was a “wow” moment.

It was 8am and I was warming up on the treadmill before my workout. The gym wasn’t crowded so it was easy to notice people.  I saw a guy come up to the treadmill who was mentally and physically disabled. I’ve never seen someone in his severe condition at any gym. He could barely walk on his own so his friend was guiding him.

Not soon after, he was on the treadmill doing his morning workout. What an inspiration! He was going along at a decent pace considering his limitations.  Later, I saw him downstairs attempting to do some other exercises.

I couldn’t help but think of the times I’ve a) been too lazy to run or b) not gone to the gym or worked out because I was tired. After seeing him, I hope those “lazy moments” disappear forever.

After a friend heard about this brief encounter, he wrote the following:

“I use to work with the Special Olympics and these special groups of people are truly inspiring. You will be surprised how much you enjoy working with them and how you will build some special relationships that you would truly cherish.”

I’ve read or seen many stories about Special Olympics although it was good to get that encouragement from someone who has previous experience. 

His encouragement went further:

“I would definitely think about doing some things with the special needs populations or the mentally disabled and mentally ill with your sports background.”

I do have some experience in that area as I’ve worked with a special needs 7 year-old boy for six months at his school. It was a tough yet worthwhile adventure. I learned quite a bit about myself and gained a better understanding of what individuals like him go through on a day to day basis.

Inspiration comes in many forms. This past week was a trifecta - (wife’s exercise consistency, disabled man’s ability and friend’s encouragement).

Three days in the gym and three doses of inspiration. Life is good.

Happy Gswede Sunday!

The Moat at a couple's castle - A lovely Sunday afternoon in southern Sweden


Anonymous said...

Dear G
Truly inspiring indeed!

I often think about focusing on how my body actually feels while I am out running, thinking that I would never forgive mysef if I were to lose my ability to run or walk and had not taken advantage of truly feeling how to use my body for a liberating activity such as running.

Even on days when it seems hard and slow -or perhaps especially then- it is rather inspiring to really focus on that feeling of truly experiencing your body and its ability, regardless of where you are in your routine....

Anonymous said...

That's why traveling is so get to see the world around you... the people in it, the lives they live....and appreciate what you have a whole lot more.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. Keep up the good work at the gym