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5 Ways to Stay Active with Your Disabled Loved Ones

Staying Active with Disabled Loved Ones

Staying active is one of the most important parts of staying healthy. If you are a caregiver or a family member of a person with disabilities, it’s crucial to step up and help keep them active throughout each week. Finding unique ways to stay active comes with a variety of benefits for your physical and mental health and theirs. 

disabled adults playing tennis

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that this article is not intended to replace or refute a physician’s advice but to encourage movement for individuals whose doctors have deemed it safe to do so. Individuals, especially those with physical and developmental disabilities, should always check with their physician before beginning, changing, or stopping a physical activity routine.

Why is staying active important?

Exercising physically and mentally for at least 30 minutes a day can drastically change your overall well being. Here are a few reasons staying active is so important:

Staying active keeps you strong.

If you have disabled loved ones, it’s even more important for them to participate in daily physical activity so they can continue growing stronger. Failing to participate in physical activity can result in muscle weakness and other health issues. However, if you stay active, your disabled loved one may receive benefits such as great circulatory health and consistent muscle growth, helping them to accomplish daily activities. 

Staying active improves mental health.

Did you know staying active doesn’t just improve your physical wellbeing? It also works to improve your mental health, which can greatly impact your family members with disabilities. Oftentimes, individuals forget mental health can significantly impact the rest of the body, and can even make you more susceptible to physical illnesses. When you stay active, your body produces hormones that can increase energy levels and the ability to focus, while also improving mood. With an improved mood and increased self-esteem, your loved one’s quality of life has the potential to enhance significantly. 

Group of special needs adults

Staying active can be social.

Although physical activity may not be your favorite part of the day, it doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, many choose to use physical activity as a way of socializing with others. Helping your loved ones stay active is a way to improve their mental health by building a bond with one another. Simply having a conversation while walking around the block can make a huge impact on your loved one’s life. 

READ MORE: Our Top 5 Health Tips for Special Needs Adults →


5 Ways to Stay Active

If you are struggling to find ways to keep your loved ones active, we are here to help. First, it’s important to know what they enjoy doing. From swimming to volleyball, there is a multitude of ways to stay active throughout each season.

  • Having an impromptu dance party
  • Going fishing
  • Going to the park
  • Scheduling a trip to walk around the zoo
  • Taking a yoga or karate class
  • Taking the dog for a walk
  • Riding bikes 

Regardless of the activity you choose, the goal is to get moving! Give your loved one encouragement throughout the process, including trying a new activity. Create fun activities that incorporate movement based on what your family and loved ones like to do to motivate them to be more active.

1. Take a walk or run.

Get your cardio in by taking a long stroll. Many people underestimate the power of a simple walk through the neighborhood or a nearby park, but it can produce a variety of benefits, including heart health. Plus, the fresh air can make you and your loved one feel more relaxed and at ease. If you’re up for the challenge, train for a 5K! Many Baddour residents participate in 5Ks, too. Training not only gets your heart pumping; it’s also fun to train with friends and family! And who doesn't love a little friendly competition?!

Adult Swimming

2. Practice aerobic swimming.

Aerobic activities such as swimming can help get your heart rate up faster, helping you receive many different health benefits throughout the workout. Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate swimming into daily physical activities:

  • Swimming laps
  • Practicing techniques
  • Working on speed
  • Water aerobics classes


3. Plant flowers.

Another way to stay active during warmer months is to work outside in your garden or lawn. If your loved one doesn’t love going to the gym, they may enjoy planting flowers or seeds. Not only is yard work therapeutic for many people, but it’s also a unique way to get your physical activity in for the week. Here are a few ways for your disabled loved one to join in on lawn care:

  • Raking leaves
  • Tidying flower beds
  • Watering plants
  • Starting or tending a garden
  • Planting seasonal plants and shrubs

Gym for Disabled Adults

4. Join the YMCA or your local gym.

If you are looking to provide your physically or intellectually disabled loved one with a variety of options for daily activities, joining your local YMCA might be the answer. Because YMCA locations offer a multitude of physical activity opportunities for every age, your loved one is sure to find something they enjoy. A few options are:

  • Yoga classes
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball 
  • Weightlifting
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Fishing
  • Gardening
  • Dancing

Playing Basketball

5. Play in the Special Olympics. 

Here at the Baddour Center, we offer many ways to stay active through our fitness center and programs like the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics program provides an opportunity to be on a team with peers in order to compete across the state. Events at the Special Olympics include golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and more. 

Tips for Keeping Your Loved One Safe During Exercise

Staying active is an important part of our daily lives, but staying safe while doing so is often forgotten about. As a caregiver, it’s your responsibility to monitor and keep your loved one safe during physical activities. A few tips for keeping your loved one and yourself safe while staying active are:

  • Work with a trained physical therapist
  • Create a routine with a physician’s help
  • Be patient
  • Stay hydrated
  • Make a schedule
  • Take breaks
  • Be encouraging

Gym for Special Needs Adults

Staying Active at Baddour 

Our team at the Baddour Center is passionate about providing residents with all of the information and opportunities they need to live a fulfilling life. Staying active is one of the most beneficial ways to improve physical and mental health. Through a fitness center and the Special Olympics, we help residents stay active. 

Each resident has his/her own fitness book to track weight, pulse, time on specific machines, and more. Through a well-rounded fitness routine with cardio and resistance/weights and the help of staff who can demonstrate safe and effective use of machines and offer encouragement during workouts, the Baddour Center provides the tools needed to thrive physically and mentally.

If you’re interested in touring the Baddour Center, contact us today to schedule a tour. For more information about our Special Olympics program, read more about how it positively impacts our residents.

Posted by Brittany Rodgers at 13:40