Physical Activity for People with Disability

Everybody needs physical activity for good health. However, less than half of U.S adults with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs (mobility disability) report engaging in aerobic physical activity.1 For those who are active, walking is the most common physical activity.1 Yet, adults with disabilities report more environmental barriers for walking than those without disabilities.2 Here are some ways that people with disabilities can stay active and healthy.

Physical activity plays an important role in maintaining health, well-being, and quality of life. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionpdf iconexternal icon, physical activity can help control weight, improve mental health, and lower the risk for early death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. Physical activity can also improve mental health by reducing depression and anxiety. For people with disabilities, physical activity can help support daily living activities and independence.

Any amount of physical activity that gets your heart beating faster can improve your health. Some activity is better than none. For even greater health benefits, the Guidelines recommend that all adults, with or without disabilities, get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of aerobic physical activity per week. Activities can be broken down into smaller amounts, such as about 25 minutes a day every day. Muscle-strengthening activities, such as adapted yoga or working with resistance bands, provide additional health benefits.

People with Disabilities
One in four U.S. adults is living with a disability,3 defined as

  • Serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs;
  • Deafness or serious difficulty hearing;
  • Blindness or serious difficulty seeing;
  • Serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions;
  • Difficulty doing errands alone; or
  • Difficulty dressing or bathing.

Adults with disabilities are more likely to have obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities. Physical activity can reduce the risk and help manage these chronic conditions.

Read the full Article on the CDC Website