Virginia Health Promotion for People with Disabilities at the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University

Promoting healthy lifestyles for people with disabilities

Skip to Content
Home > Physical Activity

Physical Activity

playing tennis

"For each hour of regular exercise you get, you'll gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don't start until middle age."
- Physical Activity Improves Quality of Life article, American Heart Association

Regular physical activity can improve the health and quality of life for people across all life stages. According to Healthy People 2020 (, physical fitness can help all Americans attain a high quality of life with reduced risk of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death. Everyone, including people with disabilities, can enjoy the numerous health, social, physical and psychological benefits of physical activity.

Keeping and being fit does not necessarily require you to follow a rigid exercise format. It does however require you to be physically active on a regular basis. Activities can range from moderate to intense and include walking/strolling, gardening, dancing, horseback riding, running, swimming, sports, weight lifting, and aerobics. Physical activity choices for people with disabilities are most effective when they address a participant's level of competence, provide needed accommodations, provide a physically safe environment, offer easy access on a regular basis, and include peer participation companions.

Recreation is a fun way to maintain physical activity. The many benefits of physical activity and recreation include a positive effect on quality of life, disease prevention, weight management, self-esteem, stress reduction, physical well-being, and overall health.

More information can be found on the Disability Publications and Links pages.