Adults with Disabilities: Physical Activity is for Everybody
More than 21 million US adults 18–64 years of age have a disability. These are adults with serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs; hearing; seeing; or concentrating, remembering, or making decisions. Most adults with disabilities are able to participate in physical activity, yet nearly half of them get no aerobic physical activity. Physical activity benefits all adults, whether or not they have a disability, by reducing their risk of serious chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Only 44% of adults with disabilities who visited a doctor in the past year were told by a doctor to get physical activity. Yet adults with disabilities were 82% more likely to be physically active if their doctor recommended it.
Doctors and other health professionals can:
-Ask adults with disabilities how much physical activity they get each week.
-Remind adults with disabilities to get regular physical activity consistent with their abilities. They should try to get at least 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity. If this is not possible, some activity is better than none.
-Recommend physical activity options that match the specific abilities of each person and connect them to resources that can help each person be physically active.
CDC has set up a dedicated resource page for doctors and other health professionals with information to help them recommend aerobic physical activity to their adult patients with disabilities.
Doctors and other health professionals can use these 5 steps to increase physical activity among adults with disabilities:
- Remember that Physical Activity Guidelines are for Everybody
- Ask about Physical Activity
- Discuss Barriers to Physical Activity
- Recommend Physical Activity Options
- Refer Patients to Resources and Programs