Be Active Your Way Blog
The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for persons with disabilities. They provide disability specific information regarding physical activity, nutrition, and lifestyle weight management along with web-based health promotion programs inclusive to users of all abilities. NCHPAD's website features a database of programs, organizations, parks, and personal trainers all equipped to provide physical activity and health services to persons with disabilities. For more information on resources that can enable people with disabilities to become as physically active as they choose to be, please contact (800) 900-8086 or visit www.nchpad.org.
Allison Hoit, MS, ACSM-HFS, is an Information Specialist for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). She holds a Master's degree in Community Health Education from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Auburn University. Her work and passion is to promote inclusive healthy communities for all of the five sectors to include community, institutions/organizations, healthcare, schools, and worksites. Leading by example, Allison is an advocate for NCHPAD's mission by participating in regular physical activity such as running, strength training, and yoga along with consuming a healthy diet.
Bob Lujano, MS, is an Information Specialist for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). He holds a Master's degree in Recreation and Sport Management from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor's degree in History and Pre-Law from the University of Texas. Bob has been a wheelchair rugby athlete for 17 years including a 7 year run on the US Rugby National Team and the US Paralympic program. He holds a silver medal from the 2002 World Championship team and a bronze medal from the 2004 Paralympic team. Outside of the office Bob enjoys public speaking, church activities, reading, going to the movies and the rare occasions of going dancing.
Cross-promoted from the NCHPAD News: Volume 12, Issue 1
Written by: Carol Kutik, Director of Fitness & Health Promotion at the Lakeshore Foundation
Never! Even if you have had an inactive lifestyle, research suggests that you are never too old to benefit from exercise. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that even moderate physical activity can improve the health of older adults who are frail, or who have diseases that accompany age. A substantial number of research studies confirming the many benefits of regular physical activity for older adults helped the U.S. government to report in its 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that, compared to less active people, more active people have lower rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression. The Guidelines add that “regular physical activity is essential for healthy aging.” Note the word essential, as opposed to the word suggested.
Despite the known benefits of physical activity, the NIH reports that rates are low among older people. Only about 30 percent of adults between age 45 and 64, 25 percent between age 65 and 74 years, and 11 percent age 85 and older engage in regular physical activity. Physical activity rates for older adults with physical disabilities are even lower. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding adults age 50 and over, approximately 70 percent of those with disabilities do not participate in recommended amounts of physical activity, as compared to 60 percent of those without disabilities.
As older individuals become less active, they begin to lose their ability to perform standard daily living activities and become discouraged and reluctant to exercise, fearful that it will be too strenuous and cause them harm. All too often, decreased levels of both physical function and independence are accepted as natural consequences of aging, leading older adults to believe that exercise is not “for them” and perpetuating the downward spiral. Research from the NIH shows that the opposite is true – that exercise is safe for people of all age groups, and that older adults hurt their health far more by not exercising than exercising.
The following types of exercise are recommended for seniors who want to stay healthy and independent:
The following steps will help guide you in your new exercise routine:
Tags: physical activity, exercise, seniors, older adults
Active Advice | Older adults
On January 24, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter clarifying school's obligations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to provide extracurricular athletic opportunities for students with disabilites. The guidance creates a clear roadmap for how schools can integrate students with disabilities into mainstream athletic programs and create adapted programs for students with disabilities.
"OCR's guidance is a landmark moment for individuals with disabilities, as it sends a loud message to educational institutions that students with disabilities must be provided opportunities for physical activity and sports equal to those afforded to students without disabilities," said Terri Lakowski, policy chair of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition (IFC) and nationally recognized sports policy advocate.
You may have seen this announcement in the media or through your organization, but what does it all mean and how will this impact extracurricular athletics?
The road towards victory for student athletes with disabilities was relentless. The letter released by the OCR came after ten years of advocacy to level the playing field in school-based athletic programs. The release of the Dear Colleague letter is merely further guidance on what should already be happening for students with disabilities, based on section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The purpose is to clarify school's responsibilities under the law; it does not provide any additional legislation. Similar to Title IX, which paved the way for women to have equal opportunities in sports, the updated guidance will hopefully provide a similar effect for student athletes with disabilities.
Above: Wheelchair athelete Tatyana McFadden, front, races in her first high school track meet alongside able-bodied runners, April 2006 in Rockville, MD. Photo courtesy of (Chris Gardner/AP)
Why are these guidelines important? The benefits of providing ALL students with opportunities for exercise and sports participation goes beyond justice and individual opportunity. There is a major epidemic of obesity among our youth and even more so among youth with disabilities.
"Inclusion in athletics is how children learn from each other, build social skills and optimize their growth and development. The OCR guidance is a clear indication that athletics is an extremely important part of our educational system and that youth and young adults with disabilities must be afforded the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers," said James Rimmer, Ph.D., who co-chairs the IFC and directs the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability. "This should be part of a national strategy to lower obesity rates, which are disproportionately higher among youth with disabilities compared to their non-disabled peers." By providing equal access in extracurricular activities for students with disabilities, maybe we can begin to break down the common barriers to physical activity, and create a new culture of inclusion in our schools and communities.
To ensure equal opportunity does not mean a fundamental alteration to the program, but simply providing a reasonable modification to allow the student athletes with a disability to participate alongside their peers. The Dear Colleague Letter document outlines what constitutes a reasonable modification. One example is to provide a visual cue at the start of high school track races, simultaneously wtih the starter pistol sound, to be inclusive of students with hearing impairments. Another example of a reasonable modification is to allow an individual born with only one hand to be allowed to finish a swim race with a "onehand touch" as opposed to the "two-hand touch" finish rule for certain strokes. As you can see, inclusion can be a reality in all aspects of physical activity. The message is simple: Prevent Obesity, Be Inclusive.
The IFC, led by the Lakeshore Foundation in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine, comprises over 200 organizations representing a cross-section of disability rights, sports, health/fitness, and civil rights communities. Recognizing the barriers that continue to limit opportunities for physical activity for individuals with disabilities in the school setting, the IFC works to expand opportunities for physical activity, exercise and athletics for individuals with disabilities. For more information, please visit www.incfit.org and www.lakeshore.org.
Tags: physical activity, disability, extracurricular, athletics, students
Childhood Obesity | People with Disabilities | Schools
The True Meaning of Sedentary
The start of a new year sparks considerable conversation on losing weight, exercising more, and eating a healthier diet. While these are great stepping stones to leading a healthier lifestyle, they may not be enough to ward off chronic health conditions and mortality. Recent research findings are revealing that sitting too much during the day can be detrimental to an individual's health regardless of whether or not they meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Today's society is consumed with advanced technology and a focus on convenience, which ultimately contributes to sedentary lifestyles among Americans. Fortunately, this sedentary lifestyle can be counteracted by adding in more movement throughout the day.
Health of People with Disabilities
There are approximately 54 million Americans with some type of disability. This amounts to about 20% of the population. Many consider health and disability and oxymoron, but in fact, persons with disabilities can lead healthy, active lifestyles when given the appropriate inclusive environment to succeed. The rate of obesity is far greater for both children and adults with disabilities than for the general population. 56% of people with disabilities do not engage in any leisure time physical activity, and 87% of people with disabilities experience at least one secondary condition. Self-reported health status is classified as poor in 37% of persons with disabilities compared to 8% in persons without disabilities. Physical inactivity and sedentary behavior is a national epidemic, but noticed more particularly in persons with disabilities due to few health professionals promoting regular physical activity for persons with disabilities, and a lack of community and health promotion programs inclusive of persons with disabilities. In order to develop a healthy, inclusive community, health messaging must include persons with disabilities. Below are strategies for creating an action plan to combat sedentary behavior and physical inactivity for everyone by adding movement in to the daily routine.
An Action Plan for Everyone
Simple adjustments to the daily routine can help make activity a default versus just an option. Get going and move more for an overall better health status.
In the workplace
In daily life
The Big Picture
Aside from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommended amount of physical activity per week, it is imperative that individuals simply move more throughout the day to reduce sedentary behavior and its associated health detriments. The Physical Activity Pyramid is a great way to start assessing daily movement levels in all individuals. Looking at physical activity in these categories makes it seem more attainable and included as a factor in every person's life. Now take a stand for a better health by moving more and getting active!
Tags: physical activity, sedentary, lifestyle changes, action plan, physical activity pyramid
Active Advice | Exercise is Medicine | People with Disabilities
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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