When you have a disability, there are some things that you have to accept: some activities that you used to enjoy may either be more difficult, or even impossible. A jogger who loses her legs can find a way to keep running, but the reality of getting that done can feel insurmountable. This leaves many people with disabilities literally on the sidelines. They can feel left out, and that there are no opportunities to enjoy everything that comes with sports and getting active.

[Source: Pixabay]

Thankfully, you can stay active and get involved in sports (even team sports) with a disability, which is good because there are a lot of physical and mental health benefits to being active. While some accommodations can be required, staying active isn’t only possible, it’s a very good idea. There is a lot to gain from sports. There are a lot of other benefits from sports, including: 

  • Lower rates of obesity and better fitness as a whole 
  • Healthier bones and muscles
  • Improved motor skills and coordination
  • Reduced risk of conditions like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes
  • Less chance of developing depression
  • Improved relationships with peers.

Beyond the physical and mental benefits that come with being active, playing sports is simply fun, and people with disabilities deserve fun as much as anyone. If being active fights the boredom that can come with having a disability, then it should be encouraged.

Adaptive sports.
No doubt, you have seen images or videos of people in wheelchairs playing basketball. This is a new type of activity called adaptive sport. Also called ‘parasports’, these activities are specifically designed for people who have a disability. The Paralympic Games are probably the most well known, but many cities are now hosting leagues for basketball, volleyball, and more specifically, for people with disabilities.

However, there is a growing movement to create for getting active with those who do not have disabilities. The goal here is to create an environment where people of all abilities can be active together.

  • Some possible accommodations include: 
  • Using a buddy system
  • Altering the rules slightly (such as allowing two hits in volleyball, or four strikes in baseball)
  • Allowing more time 
  • Lowering nets and making sure the play area is smooth
  • Using lighter equipment
  • Including service dogs

Can someone who gets help from a service dog participate in these activities as well? It depends on the activity in question, but as a general rule, yes! In fact, federal law requires that sport facilities make reasonable accommodations to help those with disabilities get active. This includes allowing service dogs onto fields, courts, and the like. Bringing your service dog into a pool might not be a good idea, but if you are playing sports like tennis, volleyball, or if you’re just using a running trail at your local park, your dog is allowed to come with you. In fact, this can help! Service animals often help with mental health issues like PTSD, and having your friend nearby when getting active can help you bond with teammates, build camaraderie, and stay involved.

Get active now. It may not be as easy to get active when you have a disability, but don’t use that as your excuse. Do your research, and find ways you can stay active and get involved. Your body and mind will thank you!

Did you find this article helpful? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
About the Author:

Travis White enjoys writing on his spare time.  He considers himself a foodie and loves sharing his cooking tips and recipes. Travis is also a keen gardener and loves to put his own home-grown ingredients in his dishes.