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Sports and recreation

Two girls playing softball.

  Physical activity comes in many forms

Types of exercise include:

  • Swimming laps
  • Taking a walk
  • Playing wheelchair basketball
  • Walking up the stairs

Important physical activity tips: arrow top

  • Before you start any physical activity program, talk to your doctor to make sure that it is okay. Your doctor will help you be active in the safest way possible.
  • Make sure you stop being physically active or playing a sport if you feel pain, feel sick, feel dizzy, or are short of breath.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after you are physically active.

How to find activities and sports: arrow top

Your community probably has many places where you can take part in activities you love and even try new ones. To start, call your city’s recreation department, your own school, health clubs, YWCA, the local Girls Scout council, and nearby colleges. They might have pools, sports teams, exercise rooms, and more. You can also call the local Chamber of Commerce to find out where else you can find programs in your area.

Another place to try calling is your nearby Center for Independent Living (CIL) . CILs are agencies staffed mainly by people with disabilities. They know all about resources in your community for people with disabilities. See below for questions to ask when you call these places.

Questions to ask about fitness or exercise programs: arrow top

  • Where are you located?
  • What sports teams, games, programs, or exercise equipment do you offer?
  • How much does it cost?
  • How can I apply for financial help if I need it?
  • What are the times and dates of your programs?
  • How do you register?
  • Are your facilities and programs accessible to people with disabilities? 
  • Do you have any adaptive equipment or tools that people with disabilities can use?
  • Do you have anyone on the staff who can help people with disabilities use your facilities? (These people are sometimes called "inclusion aides.")
  • Do you have any programs that are just for people with disabilities?
  • Can teenagers use the facility?

Tips for playing sports differently to meet your needs: arrow top

Tennis racket and balls.

  • Soccer: Walk instead of run if you need to, or hold the ball in your lap if you use a wheelchair.
  • Volleyball: Use a larger ball that is softer or brightly colored, or allow the ball to bounce on the ground before hitting it.
  • Bowling: Use two hands instead of one, or use a ramp.
  • Tennis: Use a racquet with a large head, or don't use a net.

For many sports, you could try using an inclusion aide. An inclusion aide is a person who helps people with disabilities participate in sports and other activities. For example, if you are interested in horseback riding but have an illness or disability that makes this hard for you to do alone, an inclusion aide would assist you.

Some specific fitness options: arrow top

People of all levels of ability can find sports and activities that suit them. Find out if one of these is right for you:

Other organizations that offer activities and sports: arrow top

Helpful Tools arrow top

 

Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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