Fitness Programmes for Persons with Disabilities
Moderate amount of exercise is good for our health, especially for the disabled. Inactive people are prone to a number of health hazards. Prolonged inactivity will result in muscular atrophy and reduce the agility of the joints. It may also lead to osteoporosis, obesity and cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise can promote health and bring you the following benefits:
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (such as coronary heart disease);
- help prevent illnesses like stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer (e.g. colon cancer);
- enhance the mobility and flexibility of the joints to lower the risk of injuries and falls;
- enhance physical fitness and strengthen cardiopulmonary functions;
- burn calories and maintain a healthy body weight; and
- relieve stress, build-up self-confidence, extend social circle and establish good inter-personal relationship.
Points to Note During Exercise
Consult your physician and understand your condition before doing exercise. Take note of the following points when exercise:
- choose the right exercise that suits your physical ability and strength;
- exercise in an environment with good ventilation and suitable temperature;
- wear appropriate sportswear and sports shoes;
- do not make any drastic or abrupt movements, particularly when the exercise involves the neck, waist and knees;
- breathe naturally while doing exercise; and
- if you feel unwell when doing exercise, you should slow down or take a rest, if the unwell condition persists, you should consult your physician for safety sake.
A Guide to Exercise
Diagrams of recommended postures for exercise:
Sitting on a chair
If not specified, persons with disabilities may choose one of the following postures according to their own ability :
- Supine lying
Suitable for the housebound and those with weak limbs who can exercise on their own or with assistance from other people.
- Sitting on a chair
Suitable for those who cannot stand too long or who have weak lower limbs. Exercise by sitting on a chair of suitable height (allowing one's feet on the ground) and with straight back.
Suitable for those who can stand steadily to support body weight and take exercise without assistance from other people.
Suitable for all persons - Close the mouth, breathe in through the nose slowly to expand the chest and then breathe out through the mouth.
||Frequency and Duration of Exercise
For beginners - Twice a week and 15 minutes each time and progressively increase the duration to 30 minutes each time.
For those who are very weak, they can exercise with assistance from their family members or carers.
Hong Kong Physiotherapy Association
The Gymnastics Association of Hong Kong, China
Department of Physical Education, Hong Kong Baptist University