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Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults with Disabilities

Infographic: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults with Disabilities


Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults with Disabilities [PDF – 1 MB]


Title: Increasing physical  activity among adults with disabilities

Doctors and other health professionals can  use these steps to recommend aerobic physical activity options that match each person’s specific abilities and connect him  or her to resources that can help each person be physically active.

1. Know the Physical Activity Guidelines
  • The Physical  Activity Guidelines  are for everybody.
  • Review the  patient’s charts before  each visit.
  • Explain that adults  of all shapes, sizes  and abilities can  benefit from being  physically active.
  • Encourage at  least 2½ hours  a week of  moderate-intensity  physical activity.
2. Ask about physical activity
  • How much  physical activity are you currently doing each week?
  • What types of physical activity do you enjoy?
  • How can you add more physical activity in your life?
  • Remember to look beyond the disability and put the person first. Use terms such as “person with a disability” instead of “disabled” or “handicapped person”.
3. Discuss barriers to physical activity
  • Physical Barriers
  • Emotional Barriers
4. Recommend physical activity options
  • Describe physical  activity options based on patient’s abilities.
  • Brisk walking
  • Wheeling oneself in wheelchair
  • Swimming laps
  • Water aerobics
  • Hand-crank bicycle
  • Wheelchair  basketball, tennis, football, or softball
5. Refer patient to resources and programs
  • Remember to use  the “teach-back” method  to make sure patient  understands the  recommendations.
  • Refer patient to resources and programs to help them begin or maintain their physical activity.
  • Check-in with patient about his or her activity level at every visit.


For resources:,

SOURCE: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2008; Exercise is Medicine, 2014,