Make Fitness a Priority

I know from experience that it is hard to get and stay motivated to making fitness a way of life!  It is particularly difficult when the client is a person with a disability who may not understand or value the health benefits.  There are definitely a few things that have helped me and hopefully this will help you!

  1. Put it in the schedule! Just throwing it out there, “hey, let’s go workout!” may not cut it! I have seen many students over the years become consistent when an activity or exercise is a part of their routine.  Make it a habit.  We all know that once something is a part of our routine makes it more likely to happen!  I have a client who brings her kids to workout with her and it is just what the family does!  It works and all of them are benefiting from being together, doing something that improves their health and building a pattern of working out as what the family does!  Some of my non-verbal clients respond very well to a visual schedule that informs them of what they are doing and there is a sense of accomplishment when it is checked off.
  2. Tell them the value of it! Don’t assume they know. Also, don’t assume they can’t understand the benefits of an exercise if you were to tell them!  Less is more when talking, so don’t use more words than you need to.  Be literal and exact in your language.
  3. Set up family time together- that involves moving! Our community is full of great options for moving. It will be important that your kids see it is important if you want them to value it!
  4. Rewards!!! I love rewards! This can be as simple as buying a new workout outfit, buying new shoes, new headphones, getting some one-on-one time with you at a park! Food does not have to be the reward, but when it is, make it healthy!  Try drinking Axio rather than soda- the health benefits are incredible and it tastes better than water.
  5. Make the exercise appropriate for the level of fitness! Sometimes we think we have to start too rigorously with our programs. Ease into it.  I can help you set up a program that your child or young adult likes but has health benefits that are appropriate for them!  Even the best athletes had to start somewhere!  Let’s get started together!!

For more information about UFIT Unique Fitness and Independence Training, contact Peggy Mills. 614-937-8309


When I first started training with a personal trainer, I was curious as to why we didn’t do the same workout every week? I wondered if it was to keep me from getting familiar with the exercises so I would be able to do them at home and not have to pay her! Now, I had been a runner my whole life so this resistance training thing was new to me. I figured she knew what she was doing; It turns out she did.

Switching up exercises can keep us from reaching a plateau, help us make gains in our strength and achieve greater results. Some fitness professionals call this “muscle confusion” when we work muscles different ways. So how does this work?
1. Change it up! Doing the same exercises at the same intensity day after day only works certain parts of a muscle. Adding a balance component for stabilization or changing positions makes for a more complete movement of all parts of the muscle being targeted. For example, when working out your gluts, the big lazy muscle behind you, you can do a deadlift or cable pull while balancing on one leg. It may be necessary to adapt on the fly if a planned exercise for an individual with a disability “doesn’t work”.  It is nice to know there are various ways to achieve the same results.                                         

2. Yawn! Boredom factor! Then there is the fact that it is just boring to do the same thing over and over. I ran the same route day after day after day. I kept the weight off because I was thin already. As I aged, it was harder to lose the belly fat and gain muscle definition. Once I started with my trainer, the weight came off and I saw results in my tone. Often people with disabilities like routine, but with good instruction, they can learn new tasks, be proud of learning something new and get the same muscle benefits from adapting.

3. Challenge your muscles! You can do the same number of repetitions while changing the exercise to get a well-rounded workout on the muscles you want to target. You can change the reps as well, but it is more valuable to change to the exercise itself. For example, how about holding the bar and lift your knees to your chest or toes to the bar one day and then do medicine ball chops another day. Both work the abs and core. It is very empowering to let people with disabilities have some choices so they take ownership of their fitness program.



Experts in the medical field are finding that inflammation is at the core of all disease processes.    Every chronic disease is an inflammatory disease.  No matter what disease you have, inflammation is a major part of the problem.  Scientists have linked heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer, to name a few, to chronic inflammation.   Research even shows that the inflammation caused by oxidative stress is at the core of autism, down syndrome and many other health issues.

What is inflammation?  It is the body’s response to injury, irritation or infection, a natural and healthy process.  Chronic inflammation, however, generates a constant supply of free radicals that overwhelm our anti-oxidant defenses and damage DNA, aging us and causing disease of every description.  Just cut an apple open and leave it on the counter for an hour.  The effects of oxidative stress, free radical damage, have set in.  Inflammation s culprits are:  Infection, milk products, physical activity, fat cells, allergies, hydrogenated oils, non inflammatory drugs, infections, chronic stress.   It is proposed that we suffer from disease because the common diet is lacking antioxidants and other nutrients that help to prevent and control inflammation.

Here are a few perspectives from the medical world:

a) Raymond Francis is an MIT-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant, author of “Never Be Sick Again, says that if  you want to prevent disease, or if you want to get well, consume a diet high in a variety of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and that you should take high quality anti-inflammatory supplements.  He says that you should supplement with antioxidant nutrients: omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B complex (including folic acid, B6 and B12), C, D, and E, plus beta-carotene, CoQ10, curcumin, quercitin, selenium, N-acetylcysteine, and alpha-lipoic acid.  There are more findings that link inflammation to disease. These are only a few.

b) Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School says, “The results are very compelling and support the notion that neurovascular damage and inflammation are key drivers of risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

c) James Hendrix, director of the global science initiative for the Alzheimer’s Association, observes that the link between autoimmune diseases and vascular dementia is “something new” and could implicate chronic inflammation as a possible cause of progressive dementia.

d) Chronic inflammation from autoimmune diseases may also act as a trigger for dementia. Strong backing for the idea that the decline seen in neurodegenerative diseases is sometimes caused by persistent inflammation originating in an uncontrolled, overactive immune system, says professor Robert Richards from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

My question is, will we ever be able to eat enough food, refine our diets enough, rid our bodies of environmental toxins and take enough supplements (or the right supplements) to reduce the damage of inflammation, reduce free radical damage and actually contribute to longer healthier lives?

Here’s what I see so far.

  1. Inflammation is at the heart of every disease process.
  2. The Nrf2 protein in the body has the power to turn on the genes in our bodies to produce our own antioxidant responses to fight inflammation. has 1,000’s of peer reviewed studies on Nrf2.

  1. We have 2 choices: a)  We can take our antioxidants to reduce the damage to our cells and protect ourselves  OR b) We can make our own God given antioxidants through activating Nrf2 protein.  Therefore, we can take our antioxidants and kill a free radical, or we can make our antioxidants and rid our system of millions of free radicals.

My vote goes to  Nrf2 activation over supplementation.  If we all were able to activate this protein in our bodies we can be healing ourselves from the inside out.

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Let me introduce you to the hardest working UFIT athlete I know!  Sophie G is only 11 years old and puts in a workout either with UFIT or with her awesome family at least 5 days a week!  This 5th grader would leave most of us in the dust with her work ethic and determination!  Sophie loves music, is very creative and likes to have fun!!  She has great stories about her cat, Vern and her dog Dottie!  OH yea!  Guess what her favorite exericises are??? Dead bug, Battle ropes and Hulk SMASH!





5 week fitness program


Do you like to be active with others? Do you enjoy music while you exercise? Check out a 5 week series we have going at at UFIT! Bring your sibs and lets finish out the summer with vigor!