This post was written by guest blogger Tracy Williams

Meeting fitness goals may be a complicated issue when clients with disabilities come to the local fitness center. Regular physical activity is good for anyone’s health, but especially for people with disabilities. Fitness goals will help the client to improve their capability of performing activities of daily living, increased cardiac and pulmonary function and protection against secondary chronic diseases.


What are some appropriate fitness goals when working with a person who has a disability? If you are a trainer working with a client with a disability, ask them how hard they want to exercise. How many days do they want to work out? For how long, for what duration? What kind of physical activity do they want to start with? For a cardiovascular workout plan, remind your clients to vary their workout plan each session. It is important to choose a proper pace that feels right for each individual depending on their physical limitations. Cardiovascular training can include walking, cycling, stationary bikes, and swimming. If they want to work on strength training, remind the client to perform the movement through a complete range of motion and to refrain from holding their breath. Strength training may include weight machines, free weights, body weight, plastic tubing, and circuit training. If they want to work on their flexibility, this can improve range of motion, balance, coordination, and ability to carry out the regular activities of daily living. Remind your clients to hold stretches and progress slowly, because stretching should not be painful.

Getting active can help people with disabilities to strengthen their heart, strong muscles and bones, and improve coordination, relieving stress, and improve their mood. If you are exercising and have a disability, ask your doctor about the types and amounts of physical activity that are right for them. It is a good idea to get some guidance from fitness professionals or a physical therapist.

It is important that every part of a workout site is accessible. Once a fitness center director does notice a client is physically disabled, the director should ask the client if they need accommodations to be made to make the workout safe. People who live with disabilities daily want to be treated like any other client. They live life with different challenges, but people interested in fitness want to become healthier and stronger just like anyone else. Helping clients with disabilities to meet fitness goals does require patience, because they will not meet the goals at the same speed as an able-bodied person. Meeting fitness goals is an awesome adventure for anyone no matter physical capabilities.

Tracy Williams is a graduate of Dominican University, in River Forest, Illinois. She has her degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She enjoys being a nutrition consultant doing basic nutrition presentations in the suburban Chicago. She recently began her venture has freelance writer on nutrition topics. She enjoys sharing her passion for a healthy lifestyle with all people from all walks of life. For more info: 

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