The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that one in four adults in the United States —61 million people—have a disability that affects one or more of their major life activities. Of those, 47% of people with a disability ages 18 to 64 reported they get no aerobic physical activity. Existing, independent, peer-reviewed academic research has previously demonstrated that adaptive sports has positive, lasting physical and psychological effects. Though more research is said to be needed, the CDC listed the following benefits of physical activity for persons with disabilities:

The social aspect of being active is important.

More simply, participating with others is important for people's mental health, especially when our lives are facing upheaval.

Military veterans were more likely to be in the Heavily Impacted group that had poorer mental health and well-being indices, which is concerning given the challenges this population already experiences.

For some people with disabilities, such as those with limb loss, continuing to be physically active during disasters may be more about motivating participation. In contrast, for others, such as those with TBI, tailored outreach and programming may be needed to overcome barriers to being active.

The YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo is working to provide sports and other physical opportunities for those with disabilities. Our Maple pool and All Access Locker Room are designed for all access use which allows us to provide adaptive swim lessons. Most recently, the Y's tennis department carved out space in its program line-up to provide tennis instruction for wheelchaired youth.

Says CEO Dave Morgan, "We are committed to expanding opportunities that meet the needs of persons with disabilities. The YMCA is a place for all persons to pursue their healthy living goals." 

Click here to read more about the benefits of physical activity for everyone, and specifically for those with disabilities.

August 4th, 2022