How to Exercise with a Disability

By | August 27, 2015

exercise and disabilities

If you have a disability, the idea of doing exercise may seem incredibly difficult or even impossible at times.

However, there are a number of resources available to the disabled that enable them to participate in regular exercise with ease. Cardiovascular problems are the main cause of death for over 50% of wheelchair users, regular exercise in moderation is able to prevent and control the vast majority of lung and heart problems.

Some doctors argue that it is even more important for disabled people to stay as active as possible and establish an exercise regime that helps them to stay active, socialize and release endorphins. If you have a disability and would like to take part in more exercise, here’s how.


When embarking on any sort of exercise regime it’s important to be prepared, and for the disabled, preparation is even more crucial. Before you begin you should ask your doctor for any helpful recommendations or instructions check durable medical records, and seek the help of a professional such as a physical therapist or personal trainer who will be able to teach you about different exercises and how to correctly perform them.

You may also find it helpful to seek out a disability exercise support group, or even start one yourself if there are none in your area.

Exercise Options

One great way of getting more exercise when you have a disability is to join a disabled sports league or team. Basketball, tennis, track and field, football, soccer and swimming are all common sports that many disabled people enjoy participating in. Aerobic exercise is also a good option, and could be as simple as walking, pushing your wheelchair or light swimming.

You could also try strength training by using resistance bands or small weights to improve your muscle strength. It’s important that you carry out all exercise in moderation, and when starting out ten minutes a day will be sufficient. As your fitness levels increase, increase the time spent exercising accordingly.

Ask for Help

For many disabled people, exercising on their own is simply not an option. In order to get the most out of your exercise routine, you could ask a friend, family member or carer to help you with your regime.

Ensure that the person who is helping you is aware of the different exercises that you are carrying out, and knows what to look out for to ensure that you stay safe when exercising.

Staying Safe

If you feel dizzy, out of breath, faint, weak or in pain at any point during exercise, the best thing to do is stop and take a break until you are ready to continue. If the feeling persists, you should stop completely and contact a doctor.

Remember that your health is the main priority, so it’s important that you do not over exert yourself and take small steps to increase your fitness levels. Drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise is also important.