Benefits of being active
Being physically active every day is important for all Australians of any age and any ability. It helps:
- reduce the risk of, or manage, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- maintain or improve blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels
- reduce the risk of some cancers
- prevent unhealthy weight gain and support weight loss.
For some people with disability, physical activity can be a challenge. This can be due to mobility issues or a lack of accessible and inclusive gyms and other exercise spaces.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that almost three-quarters of people aged 15 and over with disability do not do enough physical activity. This compares with about half of those without disability.
If you can, try to meet the physical activity recommendations for your age group. Any activity is better than none, and it’s important to do activities that are appropriate to your ability.
If you haven’t been active, speak with your doctor before starting anything new, then start slow, and build up over a few weeks. Stop exercising and speak with your doctor if you experience any pain, discomfort, nausea, chest pain or shortness of breath.
For guidance on activities that are suitable for you, a qualified health professional such as an Exercise Physiologist, personal trainer or other appropriately trained health professional is recommended. You may be able to access these services through a government funded scheme such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
There are also many sporting opportunities in Australia for people with disability. These range from competitive elite athlete programs, to community sports and recreation. Information about what is available in your local state or territory can be found on the Disability Gateway.