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Healthy Disability Bingo And The
Need To Exercise

Jean Shaw© - All Rights reserved


On Saturday I played an incredibly healthy game of Bingo. Yes, I did say Bingo!

You see I have an autistic son and at the weekend we attended a Festival of Inclusion. It was a wonderful opportunity for people with disabilities to have fun, make friends and socialise.

Open to the general public, there were bands, entertainers, crafts, workshops, games, therapies and bingo. However, this bingo had a special twist.
Instead of having numbers, the large laminated cards had pictures of fruit and vegetables on them displayed in two rows, and above each row was a strip of Velcro.

Rather than using pens which some people with disabilities find hard to grip, each player was given a set of laminated cards. On one end of each colourful card there was a smiley face and a small piece of Velcro on the back.

The idea was to ensure the players knew which way the card had to go so the pieces of Velcro would meet. It was ingeneous and enabled those people with limited movement to participate.

The "caller" had a box full of large laminated cards displaying a picture of either a fruit or vegetable together with its name. When she had called out the word, the card was held up for all to see and then pinned onto a board so the players would have a visual clue as well as the spoken one.

It was a brilliant idea and my son won. Guess what we got for a prize?

Yes - a box of fruit and vegetables.

As I said - it was a healthy game of Bingo!

Another healthy aspect to the afternoon was the drinks. Obviously the organisers had made friends with a fruit supplier and everyone was able to make a smoothie with their own choice of ingredients.

This made a pleasant change from the normal canned drinks you find at these functions which contain either huge amounts of processed sugar or dangerous aspartame.

Another thing you will find in popular bubbly drinks is carbonic or phosphoric acid which is required to make the bubbles. However, these change the pH level of your body and leach minerals from your bones.

One of the biggest problems for women these days is osteoporosis. It is particularly worrying for women during and after the menopause but low bone density is becoming an increasing problem for young adults too. This has been blamed on the high consumption of carbonated bubbly drinks.

As I'm menopausal and my son is a young adult I'm really glad the organisers made friends with the fruit and vegetable supplier as there were also jacket potatoes available filled with cheese or tuna and sweet corn.


Yes - it was a lovely healthy day.
In complete contrast, last month I went out for a buffet Indian meal. It was a rare family outing and as I had never eaten anything Indian other than mild chicken korma I tried everything. Everyone did.

However, I was the only one who gained weight - four pounds to be exact and yet I'd eaten far less than anyone else. Also, I'd washed my delicacies down with water as opposed to pints of beer.

So what was the difference?

Muscle, or at least in my case, lack of it.

Now I know after the age of twenty you lose approximately half a pound of muscle per year unless you do specific exercises to retain and build it.

I haven't.

It's one thing knowing what to do but doing what you know is something else. You have to take action if you want to see results.

As you get older your metabolism slows down and there is a reduction in growth hormone so you need to do more exercise just to keep the same weight.

Lean strong muscles takes up less space than ugly fat, and as 1lb muscle burns one hundred calories a day compared to the three burned by 1lb fat, it's something for me to seriously think about.

By my reckoning I need to eat 1600 calories a day less now than when I was twenty years old just to maintain my weight. If I want to lose some then I need to seriously cut back or start exercising.

That's why I'm eating my fruit, drinking my smoothie and doing muscle building resistance training as I type this article.

More proof we women can multi-task!