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Physical Activity While Living with a Disability
Physical activity plays an important role in your health, quality of life and degree of independence.
If you have a disability, having adequate endurance, strength and flexibility help you to meet the demands of daily life and promotes higher energy levels, greater confidence and healthy social interactions.
Being physically active also helps you to:
- Feel good about yourself and life in general
- Sleep better
- Move around with less effort (e.g., walking or wheeling, getting in and out of your bathtub, car, bed, wheelchair, etc.)
- Improve your posture, which reduces aches and pains that can occur if you are sedentary for a long time
- Improve your balance and flexibility, which can help prevent injuries
- Improve your blood circulation and reduce the risk of swelling in your feet and legs
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce the risk of certain diseases - including heart disease, hypertension, some forms of cancer and diabetes
- See your doctor or health practitioner about your plans to become active and get their advice
- Make sure you have the right equipment (if needed) to participate in the activity safely. Safety is first and foremost when you're starting out
- Recognize your interests, decide on your needs and set realistic goals
- Think about how you can be more active in your daily life. Remember: it doesn't have to be strenuous. Gardening, playing with your kids and grandchildren, walking or wheeling at lunch are part of an active lifestyle!
- Find an activity, fitness program, club or facility that meets your needs and has qualified staff to assist you
- Do a proper warm-up before and cool down after your activity
- Drink water before, during and after your activity
- Engage support from family and friends. Have them join you, so they can get more physically active too
- Make the commitment and get started!
You may want support from a qualified professional who:
- Has specific knowledge and recognized certification for working with people with disabilities
- Uses an adapted heart-rate formula to measure and monitor your heart rate to allow you to work in the proper zone for your age and goals
- Knows about any medication you may be taking - and understand and work around any adverse side effects
- Can be a motivator, teacher, coach and friend. A lack of motivation and training can lead to your giving up or getting bored. A trainer can keep things interesting and fun.
To speak with a qualified exercise professional, call 8-1-1 Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm Pacific Time
Last Updated: June 2021