One out of every 6 Americans suffer from a disability or approximately 54 Million people. Those with disabilities face many daily challenges from limited activities to psychological distress. Obesity is now becoming prevalent among this demographic. Approximately 30% of Americans are obese.

It can increase the risk of serious conditions such as chronic back pain, heart disease, some cancers, type II diabetes and arthritis. For those with a disability, these conditions magnify the problem even more.

42% of Wheelchair Users are Obese

According to a study at The School of Public Health at The University of Texas, obesity in those with a disability is even more prevalent with 42% affected.

This is not a surprising number since people with disabilities have physical restrictions that interfere with exercise. The restrictions could be due to back pains or being confined to a wheelchair. There are steps that the disabled can use to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

1. Creative Movement

No one exercise routine would work for all disabled people since disabilities can vary widely. But, there are some ways to get around disability restrictions.

Those with chronic pain or if they have a difficult time exercising due to being obese, exercises in water is optimal. While in water, weight is taken off the joints but you still get resistance which will build strength and provide a cardiovascular workout.

If you are in a wheelchair but have severe movement limitations, focus on the part you can still more. There is always a way to exercise unless you are paralyzed from the neck down. Check out Youtube for upper body exercises for the disabled.

You can also consider joining wheelchair volleyball and basketball. A Physiotherapist can be very valuable when dealing with severe limitations. They can help in almost any situation, even with severe restrictions.

2. Consume Less Calories

Calories are the bane of obesity.  In essence, we get energy from food and we burn off the calories and hopefully have little left over. You pack on the weight when caloric intake is greater than metabolization on a regular basis.

Don’t expect to burn the same amount of calories as an able body person. Working with a nutritionist is always a good idea when trying to lose weight. There is no need to starve; just a few nutritional adjustments will do the trick.

3. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Sometimes, impairment can affect a person’s activity level on a more mental than physical level. Anxieties of worsened aches and overstated beliefs regarding restrictions are both typical and reasonable with those with a handicap.

Psychological interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy will help individuals achieve a more correct viewpoint of their capabilities. Looking to psychological therapy doesn’t imply that the pain is “all in your head” or that anything is “wrong” with you; it simply shows that you’re prepared to protect all your bases.


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