A new report by Public Health England has looked at the evidence regarding disabled adults and exercise.
They found that there is no evidence that exercise is unsafe for disabled adults. In fact, there are a ton of benefits that can be gained from doing 150 minutes of “moderate” exercise every week.
But you probably already knew that exercise is good for you, right?
Here is an infographic which summarises the benefits of exercise for disabled adults:
The Activity Trap
It’s great that Public health England are trying to encourage more disabled people to be active. Exercise is important, especially for wheelchair users like myself who are largely sedentary.
However, it’s not a simple case of just joining a gym.
A report by the charity Activity alliance, called the Activity Trap, found the following results:
- Being active is important to disabled people.
Four in five people in the study (83 per cent) would like to be more active and think it’s important to be active (84 per cent).
- Disability benefits are critical in enabling disabled people to be active.
Almost two thirds of people (65 per cent) said they rely on benefits to be active.
- A fear of losing benefits is preventing disabled people from being more active.
Almost half (47 per cent) are fearful of losing their benefits if they are seen to be more active. More than half (55 per cent) said they were likely to be more active if benefits weren’t at risk of being taken away.
So, many disabled people are caught between a rock and a hard place.
If they are not active they can get benefits but may put on weight and be at risk of other negative health effects.
If they take part in sport or exercise they may be deemed too active if they are reassessed by benefits inspectors and may lose their benefits. Benefits that they NEED to be active.
It’s a catch 22.
If the government really want disabled people to exercise more they need to stop punishing them for being active.