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.
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
Guest written by Tamika Jones, M.Ed., CAPE
Organizations across the United States are heavily pushing for more physical activity in physical education (PE) classes, after-school programs and community-based programs for children. This will also mean a greater push for the availability of adapted physical education (APE) services, which are so important for youth with disabilities.
The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition reported that physical activity is 4.5 times lower for children and youth with disabilities compared to their peers without disabilities. The purpose of PE is for students to learn, practice, and master skills that will allow them to be physically active for a lifetime. While PE has the same purpose, APE curriculums allow for students to work on a more individualized curriculum that focuses on each student's strengths, needs, and interests.
As a trained adapted physical educator, I have noticed that students experience a higher level of success while in APE, as well as in general PE classes with one-on-one assistance. Students who were enrolled in my self-contained APE classes really benefited from the smaller class size that offered personal adaptations and a more defined class structure. Most importantly, APE services provide students with ample opportunities to increase their confidence in a physical activity setting and to improve their overall self-esteem.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ("IDEA") is a Federal law designed to ensure that all children with disabilities, from birth to 21 years of age, have free appropriate public education available to them. This includes early intervention, special education, and related services designed to meet their individual needs. IDEA requires that PE services, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every child with a disability receiving free public education. In accordance with the law, the term "physical education" includes special education, APE, movemen
t education, and motor development. IDEA states that if specially designed physical education is prescribed in a child's individual education program, that the public agency must be responsible for the child's education by providing the necessary services directly or making arrangements for services to be provided through other public or private programs free of charge to the child and parents.
Students who may not qualify to receive special education services, but still require disability-appropriate educational services may still be eligible. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that the public agency responsible for the child's education provide students with disabilities-appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual's needs. Under these requirements, a student with a Section 504 plan can quality for APE services as well.
In today's world, where the number of youth with disabilities is growing, it is important that these individuals are provided with the same quality educational experiences as their nondisabled peers. Physical education services should be no different. APE provides youth with disabilities a means to master physical education goals. The individualized PE program allows students to move at their own pace, while in a PE setting that fits their individual needs. By modifying instructions and equipment, students with disabilities are able to achieve success while building strength, endurance, and skill levels that will hopefully keep them physically active for the rest of their lives.
About the Guest Writer
Tamika Jones, M.Ed., CAPE, received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI and Master of Education in Kinesiology in Adapted Physical Education from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. She is a certified Physical Educator with the Adapted Physical Education National Standards. Tamika began working at the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability as a Visiting Information Specialist in October 2011.
Policy | Schools
Recruitment is one of the biggest challenges that I have noticed regarding physical activity programs for people with disabilities. I experienced this first hand several years ago, when I was developing adaptive sports and exercise programs for students with disabilities at Kent State University. I remember I was very excited for the opportunity to provide such programs to students with disabilities, and also to have have students try activities that they did not think they could do, or that they knew existed.
With the help of the fitness coordinator and student disability services, I was able to set up a variety of adaptive programs - chair aerobics, yoga, aquatics, archery, rock climbing, skiing and an introduction to wheelchair basketball. I assumed that once these activities were available, students would be lining up to join. The truth was, hardly any of the students voluntarily signed up for any of the programs, and the rest had to be encouraged.
Some students are simply not interested in these types of activities, but others, I believe, just had a lack of knowledge - not knowing these programs exist, and not knowing that they can participate in sports and exercise activities even if they do have a physical disability. Also, sports and exercise are generally introduced early to children. But due to the competitive nature of sports, children with disabilities often don't get to reap the benefits of physical activity at all, or are exposed to them much later in their lives.
Temple University in Philadelphia, PA has one of the most creative programming ideas that I've come across. It's called the Workout Buddy Program, and is one of many available from their Adaptive Recreation Department. The goal of the Workout Buddy Program is to provide an opportunity for students with disabilities to experience various sports and exercise activities. Students with disabilities who want to participate are partnered up with a fellow student/volunteer, and they participate together in whatever activity they choose - tandem walking/jogging, handcycling, aquatics, weight traning, cardiovascular conditioning, etc.
Since many individuals with disabilities are not aware of adaptive sports/recreation programs, there needs to be introductory programs that expose young individuals with disabilities to various physical activities. This group also needs to learn about how exercise and sports can benefit them physically and emotionally, and understand that participating in physical activity improves their health and wellbeing. Universities and colleges in particular should be providing such programs for their students since the setting is ideal for fostering new experiences and self-growth.
What other ways can colleges and universities encourage students with disabilities to join sports, exercise, or recreation programs? Also, should there be more focus on attitudinal change from the nondisabled student population?
Tags: physical activity, disabilities, adaptive programs, college, university
Creative programming | People with Disabilities
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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