Why is fitness so important? This may initially sound like a silly question; however, it is truly legitimate. When we ask ourselves this question, what really comes to mind? Unfortunately, obesity is an epidemic in America. However, obesity may be even more common for those with disabilities. Why is this? Well, for one, it is more difficult for those with disabilities to gain access to adaptive equipment. Another reason is how much function the person with the disability has. Additionally there may be transportation concerns, financial concerns, lack of information, or potentially all of the above. However, there is hope! For those of you interested in adaptive sports, there will be some resources listed below to help pass information along that may be useful.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has been supporting disabled athletes for many years. CAF just opened the application period to apply for grants for adaptive sports at the beginning of September. There is potential to receive adaptive equipment for sports, money for competition and traveling and/or training. The enrollment period ends in December of 2013.
For those who are paralyzed, there is the Kelly Brush foundation which purchases adaptive sports equipment for grant recipients.
If competition is not what you are interested in, but being active is, there are alternatives. The Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Project aka SCIRP is dedicated to fitness for those with physical disabilities. You can Google the name and find a location near you.
If finances are a concern, there is the Chanda Plan Foundation, which is dedicated to helping those who want access to physical fitness and do not have the financial means.
Fitness is important not only for physical health, but also mental and emotional. It has been proven that exercise increases the pleasure producing chemicals in the brain. Having a disability can be very frustrating and challenging at times, and having healthy outlets in order to maintain happiness may make the difference between a life of fulfillment or the contrary.