Physical Activity

Individuals with disabilities can gain benefits from physical activity, such as enhancing the functioning and health of their heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Flexibility, mobility and coordination can be improved, lessening the negative effects of some conditions or slowing the progression of others. Physical activity is fun and provides a chance to meet people and make new friends.


A little creativity, along with adaptive or customized equipment, can make almost any activity possible, including swimming, horseback riding, cycling, waterskiing, and even rock climbing. People with all types of disabilities–physical, cognitive or developmental can participate.


Below are resources to get involved with physical activity.


U.S. Paralympics – Check out the various Paralympic sports, including boccia, goalball, powerlifting, rowing and more, as well as how to become involved.


National Center on Physical Activity and Disability – A wealth of information on physical activity for people with disabilities including exercise guidelines, fact-sheets on many popular activities, games, recreational pursuits and sports that have been adapted to allow people with disabilities to participate as fully as they wish, how to find a certified inclusive fitness instructor and much more.


Exercise Guidelines for People with Disabilities – Guidelines from NCHPAD


Disabled Sports USA – Network of nationwide sports rehabilitation programs including winter skiing, water sports, summer and winter competitions, fitness and special sports events.


National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) – Comprised of over 200 basketball teams across twenty-two conferences and seven divisions. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of men’s, women’s, intercollegiate, and youth teams throughout the USA and Canada.


ACSM/NCHPAD Certified Inclusive Fitness Trainers (CIFT) – A certification from the American College of Sports Medicine for fitness trainers who understand safe, effective and adapted methods of exercise training for people with disabilities. Find a certified trainer.


Time to Swim! – UCP interview with Dr. Deborah E. Thorpe, discussing the many benefits and effects that come with aquatic exercise.