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May 2, 2023 in Down Syndrome

Keeping Physical Activity for Children with Disability

Keeping Physical Activity for Children with Disability
Children with disability need the same exercise as any other child in order to stay healthy and be active, but making this happen can be very difficult. Children with mobility issues, physical disabilities, chronic illnesses, or even mental illness may find it hard to exercise in the ways other children do and easy to fall into sedentary routines that are bad for their health and happiness. Here are some tips on how to keep your child active and help them learn about being an athlete.

Special Equipment Is Not Always Needed
Keeping children with disabilities physically active can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. All it takes is some creativity and a few simple modifications of activities that promote both fitness and fun. Most often, individuals who have disabilities experience more difficulty than other people engaging in physical activities because the lack of coordination or muscle strength may hinder them from engaging fully in the task at hand. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways that an individual can move their body without equipment on their own terms!

Try Different Activities
When children have a disability, they often lose their access to traditional sports and physical activities. But there are plenty of adaptive ways to stay active and happy. One option is sitting down versions of regular sports like bowling or tennis. Swimming is another fun choice because it is less exhausting on the body and does not require hand-eye coordination. Most gyms are equipped with special machinery and programs for people with disabilities, so if you can’t find something that interests you, be sure to inquire about what your facility offers. And never forget the joys of running! Whether outdoors or on a treadmill, running can burn tons of calories and make you feel great about yourself even when you’re wearing a walker or wheelchair.

Start Slow and Stay Motivated
Kids who have disabilities may find it hard to stay motivated and active. The key is to start slow and work your way up. Let’s say your child is 3 years old, their therapists recommend that they should be doing some sort of exercise 4-5 times a week. That doesn’t mean that you should put them in the boxing ring or at a Crossfit gym! It means that in the first week, you can do 10 minutes of something simple like walking or jumping rope before bedtime.

The next week, try 15 minutes and so on until they are able to complete 30 minutes of exercise. Once they are done with 30 minutes, go back to 20 and so on until they can go back up to 30 without breaking a sweat.

Set Goals
Goals will be achieved when the child has the opportunity to participate in physical activities that are age appropriate. It is important to remember that when a child does not feel like they are accomplishing anything, it can lead to feelings of frustration.

Setting small achievable goals is an effective way to encourage children to continue their participation in physical activities. Once the goal is accomplished, a new goal should be set and so on. For example, if the goal is completing ten push-ups, once this goal has been completed then new goals such as 15 push-ups or 20 push-ups can be set.

Seek Professional Help If Needed
Kids are not the only ones who need to stay active. Parents of kids with disabilities may have a hard time finding activities that their child can do and, if they are able to find something, it may be costly. There are many programs available to help keep kids in wheelchairs physically active while having fun.

One such program is B-Boyz wheelchair dance class. It teaches non-disabled students how to dance and provides a safe space for kids in wheelchairs to learn how to move themselves on wheels. The studio also offers free trial classes so parents can see if it is a good fit before enrolling their child in classes.

Why Keeping Physical Activity for Children with Disability is Important

The benefits of physical activity are many. It helps children with disabilities to improve their overall health, build strength and endurance, increase energy and speed, develop muscle tone and coordination, and reduce stress.

Physical activity continues to be recognized as an important part of a child’s daily life—whether it is a part of organized school programs or simply something that they choose to do on their own. Physical activity can help children with disability gain confidence and self-esteem by making them feel good about themselves. They may also begin to see that they have more control over their lives than they previously thought possible.

The benefits of physical activity for children with disability are well documented by research studies showing that:

A regular schedule of physical activity can improve the health and well-being of children with disabilities.

Children who participate in physical activities tend to have better bone growth rates than those who do not participate in physical activities.

Physical activity helps keep bones strong throughout adolescence and adulthood, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Regular exercise can decrease the chance of developing diabetes or high blood pressure later in life by improving glucose metabolism and reducing inflammation in the body.

Physical activity is an essential part of a child’s life. Physical activity improves the health of children. It also helps to maintain good health and reduces the risk of illness and injury.

Types of Physical Activity for Children with Disability
Physical activity can be divided into the following categories:

  • General physical activity: This type of physical activity includes walking, jumping, running or climbing stairs, and playing sports. General physical activity is important for children’s well-being. It gives them a chance to burn calories, strengthen their muscles and bones, improve their balance and coordination, boost their moods and reduce stress levels.
  • Vigorous physical activity: Vigorous physical activities include running at high speed, dancing vigorously, or using heavy equipment. Vigorous physical activities increase heart rate and may cause shortness of breath if started too quickly or too often without proper training. Vigorous activities are good for cardiovascular health but should not be started until your child is at least 9 years old.
  • Light exercise: Light exercises include slow walking, swimming laps, or using the elliptical machine at the gym. These types of exercises help increase bone density in children who are growing rapidly or have difficulty standing upright on their own because they are overweight (usually due to poor diet).

This post is meant to offer ideas on how to keep up an active lifestyle, especially for kids with disabilities. With a few helpful tips and tricks, you can be on your way to getting out of the house and onto a mat, playing soccer, or just running around in the backyard. Though it may not always be easy, we hope these steps will help you find fun and inspiring ways to engage in healthy activities. If you’re struggling to find inspiration and motivation, think about this quote from Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is so exhilarating as being caught up in a good cause; nothing so satisfying as giving yourself unreservedly.”

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