Sports Medicine

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 150–162 | Cite as

Exercise and Fitness for Persons with Disabilities

  • David M. Compton
  • Patricia A. Eisenman
  • Hester L. Henderson
Research Review


Over the past decade greater attention has been focused on the role of exercise and fitness for persons with disabilities. Increased involvement in exercise programmes, competitive sports and fitness activities has led to further inquiry into the broader concepts of performance, prevention of further deterioration of a given disability, maintenance for activities of daily living, and overall well-being. This paper reviews the literature on 3 categories of disabilities, mental retardation, mental illness and selected physical disabilities, in order to determine the role of exercise and fitness programmes in each. Despite problems in research design, sampling procedures, instrument validity, and delineation of fitness components, there is growing support for the premise that physical exercise has a role to play in breaking the debilitative cycle. Although the research indicates that physical activity can serve as a potential non-pharmacological adjunct therapy for persons with physical disabilities, there is still a need for well-controlled studies to quantify the individualisation of exercise programming.


Physical Activity Multiple Sclerosis Spinal Cord Injury Physical Fitness Spinal Muscular Atrophy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© ADIS Press Limited 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • David M. Compton
    • 1
  • Patricia A. Eisenman
    • 1
  • Hester L. Henderson
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Health HPRN 223University of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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