Read Up on Research: Accessible Fitness for Global Running Day!

Today is Global Running Day, sponsored by the New York Road Runners! Global Running Day encourages everyone to get out and run, walk, stroll, or roll. Research has shown that physical activity can reduce fatigue, improve joint health, and reduce healthcare costs for people with disabilities.

Our Research In Focus series has featured several NIDILRR-funded studies which examined the physical activity, health, and community participation. Some of these studies looked at barriers to physical activity, some tested physical activity programs or equipment, others looked at the connection between being physically active and positive health and participation outcomes.

A Walking Program Can Reduce Fatigue for People with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) describes a three-month coached walking program for people with TBI. The study compared fatigue levels before, during, and after the study, and found that fatigue levels were lower during and immediately after the program. Even three months later, they were still lower than before the study started.

Better, Stronger, Faster: How Exercising Harder May Help People with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Improve Their Ability to Walk describes a study of two walking programs for people with incomplete SCI – a low-intensity walking program and a high-intensity walking program. The high-intensity program included leg weights, faster walking speeds, and inclined surfaces. The researchers found that increasing the intensity of a walking program can increase the benefit of these exercises.

Getting Out and Getting Active May Be Key to Breathing Easier After Spinal Cord Injury describes a survey of more than 300 adults with SCI about their activity levels, any breathing issues, and their satisfaction with life. The researchers found that people who engaged in planned exercise had fewer breathing problems and those who participated in organized sports reported more satisfaction with life.

Youth and Parents Share Ideas for Supporting Healthy Lifestyles for Youth with Disabilities describes a focus group study where parents of young people with disabilities talked about the challenges their children experience when engaging in wellness activities like exercise or accessing healthy foods. The parents reported challenges such as negative attitudes from coaches, teachers, and recreation staff; lack of transportation to exercise facilities and stores that offered healthy foods; and limited community resources offering accessible exercise or recreation options. The parents also offered suggestions to address these challenges such as starting community sports organizations and teams, offering healthy cooking classes, and establishing programs where parents and children can exercise together.

Ready Player One: With Some Design Tweaks, People with Physical Disabilities Could Join in Active Video Gaming Using an Adapted Balance Board describes the development and testing of an accessible active gaming console. Active gaming consoles such as Wii Fit offer a fitness alternative for those who can’t get outside to engage in physical activity. The study showed that a modified platform can be used by people with wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility equipment to engage in fun fitness activities.

More Research In Focus articles are available from the NARIC website. Subscribe to our News and Notes newsletter to be alerted when a new issue is published!

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