Being physically active outdoors can help improve your physical health, as well as your mental health and well-being. Most people can lead an active lifestyle while walking, including people with disabilities who can walk or move with the use of assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers. In fact, walking is the most common form of physical activity reported among active adults with mobility problems.
Only 14% of adults with disabilities meet the muscle strengthening guidelines required for good health, compared to 23% of adults without disabilities.
The CDC recommends that adults do moderate or high-intensity activities that involve all major muscle groups two or more days a week. Strength training helps people with disabilities build muscle and improve their endurance. People in wheelchairs can perform muscle-strengthening exercises that are just as beneficial as going to the gym. These include shoulder presses, bicep pushups, pushups and leg extensions, and more.
Ultimately, muscle-strengthening exercise helps adults with disabilities build muscle and bone mass, can help prevent falls, and improves their balance. There are many organizations that offer adapted outdoor adventures for all skill levels. These activities include whitewater rafting, climbing, skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. It's important to see a health professional or physical activity specialist (for example, a physical therapist or personal trainer) to understand how your disability or health condition affects your ability to perform physical activity safely. It's also important that doctors recommend physical activities to adults with disabilities and refer them to resources and programs that can help them integrate more physical activity into their lives. More and more outdoor fitness equipment is being designed for people with physical limitations in mind.
Facility managers and community center directors should play an active role in providing people with disabilities with opportunities for regular physical activity. People in charge of buying exercise equipment for parks and other outdoor fitness spaces know that they have a lot of options, but not all of them are aimed at the demographic they serve. Choosing the right outdoor fitness equipment for disabled populations involves much more than people think. Physical exercise is defined as any bodily activity that improves or maintains physical fitness and overall health and well-being. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd editionpdf iconexternal icon, physical activity can help control weight, improve mental health and reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. There are non-profit organizations that help children and adults with disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, have experiences like everyone else, including outdoor activities.
Decide what amount of physical activity is right for you and your fitness level, choose an activity that you enjoy, such as working in the garden, doing household chores, riding in a wheelchair, brisk walking or dancing, and look for ways to include your favorite physical activity in your daily life. This would be especially useful for an outdoor fitness site, as it will allow your customers to do cardiovascular exercise without using their lower body. Ultimately, engaging in regular physical activity is beneficial for everyone - including those with physical disabilities - as it helps support activities of daily living and independence.