by Curtis Palmer
I recently wrote an article for Spire Magazine called Sargood is Sooo Good and I’m delighted to be contributing to this blog because I am a true believer in the mission and purpose of the Sargood Foundation.
Around 20% of the world’s population lives with a disability of some kind. In 2099, it is estimated that approximately 4 million people will have a severe/profound core activity limitation in Australia – more than triple the current number. So when we think about how big this market is and is going to be, it is surprising that we don’t often see many people with a disability being embraced into the fitness industry or any such plans to encourage integration.
I can speak from experience having lived my life sitting on a wheelchair for the past 25 years as a result of a rugby league tackle that went wrong when I was 15 years old. For me, mainstream gyms are not functional. They’re intimidating places to go and when I do go to them I rarely see people who are similar to me.
Quite often gyms can be condescending places as people think I am making a monumental achievement by just turning up there, whereas it’s actually just part of my everyday life and is no different than going to the grocery store, surf shop or whatever I choose to fill my day with.
I found the set up at the Sargood on Collaroy gym to be perfect for my needs. It’s clean, modern and offers the best view I’ve seen at a gym. It’s the sort of place that makes you want to work out even if you’re not a gym user.
I helped Sargood on Collaroy set up their gym, meticulously choosing the highest functional quality and convenient equipment on the market, and I was lucky enough to stay for a few days in summer this year with my wife and son. I have travelled extensively throughout my life and I’ve never stayed somewhere as good as Sargood on Collaroy, nor seen a gym as inclusive and functional for my needs.
For those who have already stayed at Sargood on Collaroy I don’t need to convince you of how good this place is, but if you need some extra promoting I’m going to write about how you can use Sargood on Collaroy to enhance your strength, fitness and health.
As a Personal Trainer, working out of a gym in Melbourne, I found the set up at the Sargood on Collaroy gym to be perfect for my needs. There is ample space to do lots of movement, get on the floor and stretch, do free weights or utilise the state of the art weight machines. The machines offer a great upper body workout, isolating the important muscles we need to ensure our transfers are safe and efficient. It’s clean, modern and offers the best view I’ve seen at a gym. It’s the sort of place that makes you want to work out even if you’re not a gym user.
We all have different priorities in life but for me I place my health and fitness at the top. If I’m not in good condition the rest of my life is unbalanced. I need to continuously work on my health so that I function at a high level. My son demands my energy as do my clients and everything else that life throws at me. If I’m not healthy it all falls apart.
We all know the benefits of going to the gym. Without going into detail or getting all science-y on you, movement, strength and conditioning have proven benefits, and as a person with a spinal injury maintaining your health is more important than most other people. Life is so much better when you’re healthy.
I’ve been a sportsman all my life and a great thing about Sargood on Collaroy is that even on holiday I can maintain my regular routine of exercise. This usually doesn’t happen when I travel and I end up schlepping it on my hotel room floor doing push ups and boring stuff like that. Where was the last place you stayed at that had a fully accessible gym?
For general health and well-being we all need to exercise for 5+ hours a week. You can find alternative opinions on this but in my experience good nutrition combined with this amount of movement, exercise, strength and/or conditioning will ensure that you maintain balance and your health will be in check. Balance is the key to all this.
We’re all guilty of being sedentary for long parts of the day. Whether that’s stuck at a computer desk or stranded in traffic we live in a society where we have to actively seek movement. As a kid it was so much easier to find movement. We did it naturally. But as an adult lots of things get in the way of our movement priorities. To ensure quality health we need to move. Living with an SCI we need to move more than others due to the fact we sit all day and we use our shoulders in a way they weren’t designed.
Even if you cannot move very much due to your SCI level, Sargood on Collaroy offer extensive assistance for you to access a quality workout. Your program will be designed by an Exercise Physiologist and there are guest attendants available to assist with transfers and everything else. It’s a great place to start your exercise journey if you haven’t already, or it’s perfect if you need to work out and maintain your exercise routine.
Another awesome service is the 12 day intensive exercised based therapy course Sargood on Collaroy will be running with Making Strides in October. This will be not only a great introduction to this type of therapy but also a chance to continue with your therapy while staying at a 5 star resort.
My last piece of advice is don’t get caught up in the quagmire of information relating to health and fitness. Keep it simple. Get a coach. Don’t jump on fads. Eat nutritionally dense food. Hydrate. Sleep. Chill out. And move!
ABS. (2009). Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) CURF, ABS Population Projections, 2006 – 2101, Series B.
Cat. no. 3222.0.