According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Inactive adults with disabilities are 50 percent more likely to have at least one chronic disease than are active adults with disabilities.
- Working age adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes or cancer than adults without disabilities.
- Nearly half of adults with disabilities get no aerobic physical activity, an important protective health behavior to help avoid these chronic diseases.
- Nearly half (47 percent) of adults with disabilities who are able to do aerobic physical activity do not get any.
- An additional 22 percent are not active enough.
Boy, that’s enough to make you squirm. (Does squirming qualify as aerobic physical activity?)
But let’s look on the bright side. The benefits of regular aerobic activity include increased heart and lung function, better performance in daily living activities, greater independence, decreased chances of developing chronic diseases, reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced self-esteem, and improving your whole outlook on life. OK, that sounds great, but what about disabilities?
The first step in engaging any exercise program is to find out what kind of exercise you’re capable of, and just about everybody is capable of some sort of exercise. Consult your doctor about restrictions and suggested safe forms of exercise for you.
Then find out what’s available in your community. Here in Berkeley, we’re fortunate to have the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), which provides a wide variety of exercise programs for people with a wide variety of disabilities. They can help identify forms of exercise for your individual body too.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults–including those with disabilities–get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week. People of all abilities should start physical exercise slowly, according to their fitness level, and increase gradually.
For wheelchair users and others with limited motion, a quick google search will yield various website with exercises for you. Here are some links I found: