By BEN WIMBUSH
HAVING lived with a spinal cord injury for the last eight years, I know the effects a disability can have physically and mentally.
But exercise, in any form, has limitless potential to increase our physical and mental health.
In 2011 I was in a trampolining accident – a failed somersault hit me with a sharp flash of pain which left me paralysed from the chest down.
The doctors didn’t need to tell me, I knew instantly that I wouldn’t walk again.
I wouldn’t return home for seven months, and it was only when I did that the magnitude of what had happened sunk in, and I slipped into a deep depression.
As I battled with my depression my love of sports never left and having been told of the importance of exercise for people with spinal cord injuries, I made it my mission to get moving.
That is why I started the #20isplenty campaign as a means for me to cope and stay motivated.
The idea is simple – we all need to spend at least 20 minutes on average a day both exercising as well as finding something that allows us to completely unplug from our day-to-day lives.
Sharing photos and using the hashtag has helped build a community of people that motivate each other whilst increasing the awareness and showcasing the importance exercise can have on your mental health.
Since starting the campaign, I have had some incredible and inspiring messages from people who have taken part and benefitted from #20isplenty, and over 3,000 people interacting with the movement across my socials.
It’s been a good year for me personally, as I’ve been honoured in Lucozade Sport’s inaugural Movers List. It’s nice to know that, not only is my message and efforts recognised, but the campaign is working, and the community is growing.
It’s not just me either – I’m listed alongside so many incredible people who are inspiring their communities. Hopefully, we can continue to grow the #20isplenty campaign in 2020.
My injury has changed my life, not ended it.
Ben is 40 and lives in Blackley, Manchester. He worked with RBS as a telephone service representative, and is now a motivational speaker.