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Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology$
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Jeffrey J. Martin

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190638054

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190638054.001.0001

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Physical Activity, Weight, and Fitness

Physical Activity, Weight, and Fitness

(p.269) 25 Physical Activity, Weight, and Fitness
Handbook of Disability Sport and Exercise Psychology

Jeffrey J. Martin

Oxford University Press

Physical activity, body weight, and fitness are often, but not always, related. This chapter discusses research that has examined all three areas. People with disabilities face many individual, social, and environmental barriers to being physically active. As a result, people with disabilities can have physical activity levels that are, like able-bodied people, quite dismal. Research examining the lack of physical activity among people with impairments is quite robust as it spans ethnicity, disability type, physical activity type, and assessment method. Partly as a function of a lack of physical activity, people with disabilities tend to have higher levels of overweight and obesity compared to able-bodied people. Additionally, a lack of physical activity contributes to a lack of muscular strength and endurance and inferior cardiovascular fitness. As a result, a pattern of increasing weight gain and decreasing fitness make activities of daily living more difficult. In turn, further formal and informal physical activity become more difficult and a vicious downward spiral develops that is difficult to break, particularly for older and unhealthy individuals with disabilities.

Keywords:   exercise, physical activity, obesity, overweight, activities of daily living, fitness

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