Maintain your fitness motivation beyond January

Maintain your fitness motivation beyond January
Posted on Thu 23 Jan 2020

Written by Lauren Leahy


New Year, new you… or not yet? Many of us have great plans to make positive changes when the new year starts, but often those great intentions don't carry over into February. In fact, less than half of us who make New Year’s resolutions successfully keep them.

But it can be done, and we often see it in CPA’s specialised gyms and hydrotherapy pools. We spoke with one of our regular visitors, Aaryan, about how he maintains his motivation to keep challenging himself.


Meet Aaryan

18-year-old Aaryan is an aspiring broadcast media professional, balancing his time between university, socialising, working at a social enterprise, volunteering at a radio station, and fitting in as much physical activity as he can in between. He also has cerebral palsy spastic triplegia, and limited use of his left arm. To get around, he uses a walker for short distances, or an electric wheelchair for longer journeys. Or if it’s the weekend you may even find him in his sailing boat! Aaryan does not let his disability keep him from being active.

“Aaryan likes to push himself to broaden his knowledge, social connections and physical abilities” says Rebecca Starr, Allied Health Assistant at CPA’s hydrotherapy pool at Allambie Heights. “I see consistent motivation from him in our sessions.”


Aaryan’s tips for getting more physical activity into your day

In Australia, 72% of people aged 15 and over with a disability do not get enough physical activity. If this is you, Aaryan’s tips may help.


1. Get outside

Aaryan recommends starting by spending more time outdoors – playing sport, swimming, going to the park or beach, or even just generally exploring. Getting more physical activity is easier when you’re enjoying yourself.


2. Join a friend

Having company when you exercise can also be highly motivating.

“I motivate myself to go to the pool and gym on a regular basis because of the relationships I have built there, both with staff and other gym and pool users,” says Aaryan. “Some of us contact each other and meet up outside the pool, too.”


3. Remember your ‘why’

Finally, Aaryan says it is important to remember why you want to increase your physical activity. It’s more than just knowing you should do it. Aaryan sets himself regular goals – from strengthening particular muscles to completing CPA’s Krazi Kosci Klimb – and then works hard to achieve each one.

“In November Aaryan managed to exit the pool by walking up the ramp independently for the first time,” says Rebecca. “That was a big moment.”


Besides the physical benefits of exercise, moving more can improve mental health and provide more opportunities to try new experiences. It is particularly important for people with disabilities in overcoming the additional hurdles they often face.

“Exercise helps me improve and maintain my skills around balance, stability, core and overall strength, as well as flexibility. These all make it much easier to manage my everyday living,” says Aaryan.

When starting new exercises, Aaryan likes to ask which muscles will be targeted and how they are relevant to his movement outside the gym or pool. He never loses sight of his end goals.


CPA’s specialised pools and gyms

CPA offer a range of individual and group physical therapy, hydrotherapy and water exercise programs in our specialised accessible gyms and hydrotherapy pools.

Aaryan says the best part of his time at the CPA pool and gym is the independence and freedom he gains. Exercise helps him with activities like walking and transferring throughout his week. There is a great range of machines available in the gym to allow him to work on different movements and muscles, as needed.

Spending time in the water also gives him more freedom to move.

“In the pool I can move almost completely independently, especially while walking, as it assists with holding bodyweight and balance.”

Exercises in the gym have also allowed him to straighten his left wrist, a feat he was unable to achieve in the past. Through increased stroke training and a refined kick in the pool he is also now able to swim breaststroke – one of his key goals.

“I never thought straightening my left wrist or swimming breaststroke would be possible, but through great facilities, support from family and CPA staff, and lots of persistence I was able to achieve my goals.”

So what’s next for Aaryan?

“I have been racing with the Allambie Seals for years, but now I may join in on the weeks when they are at Narrabeen, as well as at Allambie Heights. And I will join in the breaststroke races!”


Discover how doing more physical activity could boost your health and wellbeing.

Call 1300 888 378 to learn more about our gym and hydrotherapy programs.

Exciting news — Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation is launching a new podcast featuring Remarkable participants that highlights the stories behind life-changing science and innovative disability tech.

NDIS pricing boosted to support participants. The new NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits will come into effect from Friday, 1 July 2022. Read on to find out how the changes will affect your CPA services.

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