People with a disability benefit from physical activity
Everyone, including people with disabilities should engage in regular physical activity. People with disabilities, however, often face barriers to participation.
Statistics show that only a small percentage of the 19 per cent of people with disabilities participate in regular physical activity.
One of the keys to increasing participation lies in educating the community and people with disabilities about the opportunities available to participate in physical activity.
When people with disabilities stay physically fit, they accrue the same health benefits enjoyed by others and, at the same time, reduce their risks for developing additional health problems.
Physical activity for people with a disability can be either structured or unstructured. Unstructured physical activity includes general mobility and play, and can happen at home, in the backyard, at school or at the playground or local oval or park.
Adapted equipment to assist people with a disability participate in physical activity is available.
When a person has a disability, being physically fit can help him or her perform activities of daily living more easily.
Being physically active gives those with a disability the chance to perform activities in daily life, which results in benefits such as:
- improved stamina, muscle strength and motor abilities,
- increased self-esteem and quality of life and
- the opportunity to interact with friends, siblings and family.
Many of these suggestions are applicable to all people, whether or not they have a disability. Everyone who exercises should warm up, cool down and be careful to not overwork joints and muscles.
Helping someone with a disability
There are no hard and fast rules when assisting people with a disability to participate in physical activity. The most important thing is to listen to the individual’s needs and not to pre-judge their requirements.