Exercise and Rehabilitation
Exercise for Disabilities

RH 08

Exercise and Rehabilitation
Exercise for Disabilities


Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
RH 08

There are numerous exercises for people with a disability available on the internet, but it’s challenging to determine whether they are suitable for every individual. Thus, we are featuring the eBook ‘Exercise for Disability,’ published by Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA), to help you navigate this area.

Benefits of Exercise for Disabilities

The ebook emphasises the importance of physical activity for people with disabilities, as it offers numerous benefits, such as:

  • Enhancing stamina and muscle strength
  • Lowering the risk of chronic conditions
  • Reducing anxiety and depression while improving mood
  • Boosting the ability to maintain a higher level of independence, freedom, and quality of life.

Recommended Level of Physical Activity

Moderate exercise and physical activity can improve our health and mood. Do you know how much physical activity you should aim for? The ebook has provided us with the following guidelines:

Children (Aged 5-17)

Children and young people receive many social, emotional, intellectual, and health benefits from physical activity, inactivity, and sleep per day. They should aim for the following:

  • At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, such as biking, swimming, football, and other activities
  • Muscle and bone strengthening activities as part of the 60-minute daily activity, such as running, climbing, push-ups, and more.
  • Several hours of various light physical activities each day, such as walking to school or helping around the house
  • Reducing the time spent sitting or lying down helps children establish and maintain good habits.

Adults (Aged 18-64)

Adults should engage in physical activity every day. They should aim for the following:

  • 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, golfing, lawn mowing, or swimming.
  • 1.25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous-intensity physical activity, such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer, and other activities.
  • A combination of moderate and vigorous activities that provide an equivalent amount of physical exertion
  • Muscle-strengthening activities at least two days each week, such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats or lunges, lifting weights, or household tasks that require lifting, carrying, or digging.

Older Adults (Aged 65 and over)

People aged 65 and over should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days, preferably all days. If 30 minutes is too difficult, you can start with 10 minutes once or twice daily and increase the duration to 15 minutes twice daily after two weeks.

Additionally, reducing sedentary time and breaking it up as often as possible is beneficial.

Measuring physical activity intensity

The talk test is a simple and effective way to measure your physical activity intensity during exercise. Generally, you can talk but not sing during moderate-intensity activities, such as walking briskly or raking leaves. In contrast, you cannot talk or sing comfortably if you’re doing vigorous-intensity activities like jogging or fast swimming.

Furthermore, the eBook features detailed benefits, types of recommended exercises, and things we need to be aware of based on different disabilities.

Using these guides, we can roughly know how to conduct daily customised and practical physical activities. However, choosing the right exercise involves many factors, such as medical conditions, cost, time, required resources, etc.

Thus, an exercise expert will be suitable if you want a more scientific and achievable exercise plan. In Australia, three types of accredited exercise and sports science experts can support you, including accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs), accredited exercise scientists (AES), and accredited Sports Scientists (ASpS).

NeuroMoves, an innovative, evidence-based exercise and therapy service

I would like to introduce our NeuroMoves, an innovative, evidence-based exercise and therapy service for people with a neurological condition or physical disability. Our physiotherapists and exercise physiologists specialise in working with individuals with disabilities to help them achieve their health and fitness goals. We have accessible gyms in 17 locations around Australia.

The NDIS and exercise physiology

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can support allied health and other therapy services related to your disability. An accredited exercise physiologist can develop a personalised exercise program to help you manage your condition and build capacity for activities of daily living.

It’s vital to include the services of an AEP in your NDIS plan if you’re living with a disability, and

  • The disability makes it difficult to maintain good health and well-being.
  • You’re at a high risk of developing other medical conditions or an existing condition that impairs your physical movement.
  • And your plan is related to moving independently, maintaining or improving mobility, or building strength or fitness.

The NDIS funding is only for ‘reasonable and necessary services and supports that help people with a disability pursue their goals. So, you must provide evidence that exercise physiology will help you achieve your plan goals, such as allied health assessment reports with recommendations to access exercise physiology, published research and more.

If you have any questions about adding exercise physiology to your NDIS plan or other questions about the NDIS, don’t hesitate to contact our NDIS coordination team. They will help you go through the whole process of the NDIS with a person-centred approach.

Finally, please download the eBook for detailed information inside.