ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Best and Most Effective Exercise for Those Labeled "Disabled"

Updated on July 2, 2015
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty uses advanced degrees in preventive medicine and health psychology in research and treatment for public and private health agencies.

A swing built for wheelchair access playground swing in the Taupo Domain, Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand.
A swing built for wheelchair access playground swing in the Taupo Domain, Taupo, Waikato, New Zealand. | Source

A Continuum of Workouts

The world of martial arts is not a cure-all, but in the pertinent format and schedule, it can help lessen the negative effects of a range of physical and emotional/psychological conditions. This is true for a range of abilities among people covering a wide age span. The training, experience, and other education of the class instructors play a part in the extent to which martial arts practice helps students in these ways; and time, even years, is necessary for some improvements -- one should not jump into just any class and expect a miracle the first day. Other sports and physical activities may say the same. My view is that there is appropriate physical activity for everyone - our local Heinzerling Foundation provides passive exercise for the profoundly retarded among their patients, the same type of exercises administered to coma patients, those in vegetative states, and to (surviving) infants as soon as they are born in large regions of China. Exercise stimulates brain function, which stimulates body function, etc.

No matter what physical or mental condition possessed by a person, that being is still a person. He or she can usually exercise as is appropriate to current limitations, with help if necessary. Recently, I have heard an opinion that no preventive or treatment measures should be investigated for Muscular Dystrophy or Alzheimer's diease. In view of current medical advancements being achieved month by month, I cannot accept this. It is my professional opinion that no person, because of physical or mental condition, be sentenced to lifelong immobility by individuals or groups that feel it a waste of resources to provide these human beings with physical activity, stimulating mental activity, food, water, or air.

I recently read about a campaign to amass support for the notion that the "disabled" don't want any improvement in their conditions. Accepting individuals for themselves is a laudable goal. Telling them (or not telling them and simply ignoring them) that nothing can be done for them if they want some improvement is not.

Sometimes It's a Miracle

One middle school student came to us with a developmental delay, some social awkwardness, and a bone and joint condition that caused chronically bent knees and toe walking with heels in the air. We'd been informed that physical therapists said there was nothing more they could do. Perhaps the insurance cap had been reached, but this I do not know.

The 30 minutes of stretching at the beginning of each 2-hour class, 2-3 times per week, helped relieve the leg and foot conditions as did the stride lengthening drills I gave to increase distance covered by each kick executed. The student remained under medical supervision. In the end, This person was able walk with a heel-to-toe stride, run, to play middle- and high school football, and to graduate from college.

In another aspect, perhaps those that do not want to exercise should not be forced to do so. In the case of an adult at the end stage of life, one who wishes no further treatment or any heroic measures be taken to resuscitate that person in case of death - passive exercise could be torture. A massage might or might not be torture; it is the choice of that adult to participate or not and that wish should be respected.

One Man's Opinion - Wait for the Ending. 41 seconds.

K-12 Exercise

However, I believe that physical activity should be required in all grades Pre-K through 12. It should also be enjoyable. Unfortunately, some families use exercises only as punishment and connect them to negative experiences. Others insist that children sit in one place, on the computer, with a video game, or doing nothing. However, if a child is sedentary for the most part before age 5, it's difficult to instill exercise and physical activity later on. Up until the mid- 1990s, public opinion polls i reviewed for public health classes showed that the majority of Americans believed that men should not exercise after high school and women should never exercise at all... All the while, China had been passively exercising infants for centuries and ensuring physical activity that included sports, exercise, and dance as soon as the children could walk - and continuing regular physical activity throughout adult life, nearly to the deathbed.

My position is that if someone comes to me for help in improving a physical or developmental disability, I'll apply all my abilities to help them improve, if it is possible. Regardless, I advise anyone with a medical physical condition or developmental delay, with family support and guidance as needed, to consult with health and medical practitioners, and then with well trained sports and exercise professionals.

Chinese Event - Long Jump

Muscle Diseases

Sister Elizabeth Kenny is respected as the Australian nurse that discovered that warm wrapped around the limbs of polio ("infantile paralysis") victims in the early stages of the disease actually prevented paralysis. She died at the age of 72 after a long life's work of convincing medical and lay unbelievers that children with polio need not become disabled by it. She is buried at Nobby cemetery, Clifton Shire, Queensland, Australia.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) has discovered effective treatments for some types of disabling diseases and continues their efforts with help corporate and individual donations.

Content where I am, also hoping to improve.

— Chinese Proverb

Sister Elizabeth Kenny Memorial

Not everyone will leave behind the chair, but some will.
Not everyone will leave behind the chair, but some will.

Paralympics is Prescribed Rehabilitation to Some Disabled Persons

Far West Disabled Sports

Head Trauma Rehabilitation

Special Olympics in BC

What Improvement Do you Want?

The major goal of my martial arts instruction has always been to help people find a healthier way of life, in whatever are they wish to improve. Fortunately, training in preventive medicine, public health, and psychological evaluation and treatments have worked well with this goal.

Some students want to gain strength and to compete in martial arts competitions, others use the training preparatory to US Armed Forces boot camp or basketball, soccer, or football team play. Certain students have enrolled in classes in order to boost their immune systems. One individual combined the activity with dietary changes and escaped from the ravages of rheumatoid arthritis - completely cleared up and not to be found on any x-ray or symptoms. The martial training helped in part to allow a small group of students in special education over the years to leave that behind for the mainstream classroom. Some students have been able to leave their wheelchairs behind, while others have been able to improve cognitive and behavioral functioning to a point at which their physicians remove them from medications for such conditions as ADD/ADHD.

An autistic, non-speaking child began to talk during our classes, because of the repeated call and response in drills that created some new cognitive connection for him. In brain research at OSU and the rehabilitation section, head trauma unit, of BWC it was found that the bran continues to develop and heal (although sometimes very slowly) throughout the lifespan. Even over-40s continue to experience the growth of white matter. In and out of the world of martial arts and whole-body exercise, I've seen an autistic child lose all symptoms and behaviors of autism the last as a senior in high school. An accountant with a closed head trauma, through a course of relaxation and meditation, regained the ability to calculate and to use numbers and statistics. Pain can be lessened, medication levels can be reduced. Even a person with profound retardation or coma that is passively exercised can experience more efficient bodily use of medications, which can result in lower dosages and in some cases, say the kidneys or liver.

In Chicago, Korean marital arts masters gained permission to go into the nursing homes and work with senor citizens. Beginning with simple finger movements while seated in chairs and wheelchairs, the individuals after several sessions were able to begin to move arthritic joints. Then they cold make fists and punch, seated. They could kick while seated. At the end of weeks and months, some were able to arise and perform basic movements, punch, kick, and gains strength, even in their 80s and 90s. Within each category of the "disabled" are individual that can and want to be helped. Perhaps there are more than we think exist.

For anyone that has a disability and wants to exercise or participate in a sport, consult your doctor, nurse practitioner, or whichever provider you see and then consult the experienced professionals trained well to instruct you in some physical activities. Be reasonable, start slowly, set realistic goals, don't place excessive demands upon yourself and rejoice in each small change for the better. Even if you don't see changes, others may, and if not, you can still have a good time participating in an activity - a change in itself and the effort is not lost. Be encouraged.

A Severe Disability Responding to Treatment

  • The above video on Youtube uploaded by davidfreels in 2007 shows the additional improvement from head injury suffered in the Iraq War after rehab was supplemented by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). The man in this video progresses from almost non-responsive to walking on his own. Dr. Paul Harch, MD of New Orleans offers a webpage at Security cost coverages for more veterans for effective HBOT is a priority for Dr. Harch.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)