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The importance of sport for people with chronic diseases and disabilities

Suffering from a chronic disease or any disability that a person suffers from should not be considered an obstacle to the exercise of any sporting activity.


In fact, exercising in moderation and in proportion to your health crisis, and when it is accompanied by monitoring by a specialized therapist to control the disease, it certainly brings many physical and psychological benefits.

Sports, chronic disease and disability

With the advancement of technology, movement habits decreased to meet daily needs, as this lack of activity can cause the deterioration of many natural processes in the body and thus physical diseases including cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, obesity, osteoporosis and health problems. Mental disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, lower back pain, high cholesterol and some types of cancer will not be a hindrance to exercise.

Therefore, increasing the level of activity may slow down the disease process and help overcome the problem of deteriorating health status of the patient as a result of not doing any physical activity thinking that sports activity increases the disease and exacerbates it. With us:

Benefits of physical activity

Physical activity can reduce the damaging effects of stress. Many people exercise regularly, especially because of its pleasant nature.

Through sports, you get peace of mind from the many problems and stresses left by all levels of daily life, such as work, school, social activities, and even leisure activities, where exercise plays an effective role in reducing these pressures.

The exercise shifts one’s attention from a negative focus to a positive, relaxing focus.

In general, exercise improves mental health and reduces stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression and loneliness.

Sports and chronic diseases

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and bones

Bones contain cartilage that is spongy that covers the joint and prevents bone damage.

 In addition, the muscles that cover the joint must always have sufficient muscle strength because if these muscles are weak, not only will the person be able to bear less load and fatigue sooner, but also the joints will suffer from wear and tear, which is called osteoporosis and there is no treatment Better than exercise:


Regardless of the many and widespread causes of osteoporosis, exercise therapy is the best preventive and even curative factor for any complications of this disease.

The principles of exercise in this regard must be observed and learned carefully, in other words, depending on the severity of this disease, special exercises must be performed that are appropriate for it.

Many exercises are prohibited in cases of severe osteoporosis and many exercises have no effect on the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis (such as swimming).

Therefore, the most important method of exercise therapy that is recommended for patients with osteoporosis or at risk of developing it is to exercise with weight bearing or stress on the skeletal system, these sports include walking, running, mountain climbing, etc.

The basis of weight training and its effect on preventing and treating osteoporosis is well known.

Besides these exercises, proper nutrition is very necessary.

Sports with lower back pain:

People who suffer from back pain and vertebral pain, it is best to avoid the so-called asymmetric sports (which work mostly on one side of the body) such as tennis, and golf for example.

As for soccer sports that require relying on one foot (such as soccer, rugby, and handball), it should be practiced with caution.

Swimming, rowing and light weight lifting are recommended, with a pre-medical examination before and after doing these exercises.

Sports and asthma patient

Asthma manifests itself in its acute form through coughing fits and a feeling of suffocation that come in the form of attacks that have no time or time. Exacerbation of chronic bronchitis, constriction of the airways and the secretion of mucus, making it difficult for air to enter and exit properly to and from the lungs, in addition to psychological factors such as tension or anxiety that may exacerbate or lead to seizures.

However, people with asthma can participate in and benefit from most sports.

In particular, warming up is very important before any exercise, provided that it is light warm up and does not lead to cutting and narrowing of the breath.

And sports training should not start suddenly, but rather after 5 to 10 minutes of warm-up.

To avoid these crises, it is necessary to warm up gradually and perhaps inhale clean air for a quarter of an hour before training and breathe a few puffs of air in the asthma device prescribed by the doctor.

Also, people with asthma should be wary of cold air, and it is better for the asthma patient to cover his nose and mouth with a cover if sports training is in the open air or choose indoor training to avoid any attacks of asthma.

And sports that are exposed to cold air (such as mountain climbing, paragliding, etc.) should be exercised with caution.

Swimming seems to be very beneficial for asthma patients, except that it is not suitable for those who are allergic to chlorine fumes.

Also, horseback riding may not be suitable for asthmatics who are allergic to horse hair or horse sweat.

Sports and who suffers from obesity

Obesity is defined as the weight in which the amount of fat is more than the desired and according to the sex, age and skeleton of the body, its percentage may exceed 20%, in other words, in these circumstances, the increase in body fat is to the extent that the risks to health increase.

Overweight and obesity threaten the quality and quantity of life because obese people have a shorter life expectancy and a higher risk of coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

Obesity can be caused by poor nutrition or overeating, hormonal imbalances, genetic factors, and lack of physical activity.

However, people who exercise regularly have a greater ability to control their weight and more accurately control their body fat percentage.

When sporting activity adapts and is associated with a balanced and healthy diet, it has many physical and health benefits, especially for people suffering from obesity.

The psychological benefits of sport are proving to be just as important, as it is through exercise that an obese person regains confidence and has a better self-image as he participates in activities that are often inaccessible to him.

Also, one of the benefits of exercising for an obese person is also the reduction in anxiety he has, as it is often the case for obese people, and it increases their new awareness of the status of their bodies.

However, the beneficial effects of exercise on obese people tend to disappear once you stop it, so if you are obese, be careful and choose a stimulating activity that allows you to persevere and make progress without reversing it.

An obese person should avoid some activities such as those that could damage the hip, knee and ankle joints (such as jogging, tennis, soccer sports, etc.).

Swimming or cycling is more convenient to start with.

And children who are obese can play games that are less shocking and require a lot of energy.

Sports and Diabetics

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood, and without the health of this hormone, this rate becomes very high, and if glucose is the main food for our cells, very high levels of it for years cause general health damage, especially to the blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and the nervous system.

Type 1 diabetes, exercise, and insulin dependent patients:

People with insulin dependent diabetes, their body no longer produces enough insulin to control the level of sugar in their blood. Therefore, to maintain the normal level of insulin, they must regularly inject this hormone into their bodies.

Therefore, type 1 diabetes patients can practice any sport (and based on medical advice) so that they can compete at a high level, provided that they refrain from practicing sports that may cause loss of consciousness caused by hypoglycemia such as diving, climbing, free flying … etc. .

In order for a person with type 1 diabetes to be able to exercise properly and without risk, he must know very well his body’s reactions to the effort that he exerts from this sport.

Therefore, to maintain an adequate blood sugar level for a patient with type 1 diabetes while exercising, he requires him to plan to spend the energy associated with his efforts, and he can thus adapt his diet and the dose of insulin to be injected with it.


Additionally and during exercise it is generally recommended to inject insulin away from the working muscles (on which he relies on his exercise) to prevent it from being absorbed too quickly, as is always the case with diabetes where it is important to keep sugary drinks or foods on hand as this helps cope. With a possible sudden drop in blood sugar level and avoiding loss of consciousness.

Type 2 diabetes, exercise, and non-insulin dependent patients:

A person who suffers from type 2 diabetes and is not insulin dependent as this disease mainly affects obese and elderly people.

Exercise is completely possible for people with type 2 diabetes.

However, they should do this under strict medical supervision and after a cardiovascular evaluation because in fact, people with cardiovascular disease can cause exercise attacks of angina pectoris or a heart attack.

Other diabetes-related complications (high blood pressure, retinal hemorrhage, protein in urine, insensitivity of feet and hands, etc.) should also be examined under penalty of exposure to exercise.

In addition to dieting, physical activity has a beneficial effect on this disease because it contributes to weight loss, reduced fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity.

People with type 2 diabetes generally get moderate-intensity physical activity (20 to 30 minutes at least three to five times a week).

Particularly referred to here is the possibility of practicing all medium and long-term physical and sports activities (such as walking, cycling, skiing, hiking, swimming, etc.).

Sports and cardiovascular disease

Physical activity is possible for a heart patient, and even cardiologists recommend exercise for people who suffer from a lot of chronic cardiovascular diseases, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or any of the coronary heart diseases.

For people who suffer from high blood pressure, the endurance sport that is practiced for at least half an hour and three times a week makes it possible to lower blood pressure, as doctors recommend to treat high blood pressure exercise walking and running.

For people who suffer from a myocardial infarction (in which part of these muscles has been weakened by this disease), or people who have undergone a heart transplant, practicing moderate endurance activity with medical monitoring is no longer at risk for them in intense exercise.

These diseases can also be prevented and treated with exercise if they do not have a congenital cause which is extremely rare.

Excessive sitting without any physical activity causes hemorrhoids and varicose veins, which are both venous network diseases.

In addition, the person who sweats for a minute or two minutes per day at least with the exercise and pulse up to 140 beats per minute, it means that he does not suffer from the calcification of the walls of the arteries, such as hardening of the arteries due to blood circulation speed in the arteries and veins.

Sports and chronic inflammatory bowel disease

Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and chronic inflammation of the intestine that is sometimes accompanied by slight bleeding. These diseases develop through relapses during which exercise is not recommended.

Outside of these relapse periods of these diseases, all sports can be practiced except for jogging and endurance sports, which can increase small intestine bleeding.

Very concentrated energy drinks are not recommended as they can cause or worsen diarrhea.

Sports and epilepsy

This disease that causes episodes of (loss of consciousness and uncontrolled muscle movements) is due to abnormalities in the functioning of the brain.

Children who suffer from epilepsy are often excused from sports and this is a mistake because the disease is usually well controlled and does not prevent physical activity until swimming, but under the supervision of a medical specialist.

The forbidden sport for people with epilepsy is diving and combat sports or violent sports.

In water sports, a life jacket is required at all times.

In general it is best to avoid solo sports (hiking and mountain climbing alone, or swimming in the sea, solo free flight, etc.) and prefer team sports or athletics.

In all cases, it is necessary for a patient with epilepsy to take his treatment regularly, to be especially vigilant during changing the treatment or dose, and to always carry his medication with him and with a card indicating that he suffers from epilepsy in order to avoid any problem that may occur during exercise.

Sports and nervous system patient

These diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.) can be very disabling to exercise.

However, we cannot completely exclude these from exercise which can also help maintain relative autonomy for a longer period of time for these patients.

The French Sports Air Conditioning Association allows people with this type of disease to register for several disciplines.

Sport and HIV / AIDS

People with HIV / AIDS who receive treatment sometimes have poor body fat distribution (thinning of the face and limbs, weight gain in the abdomen and sometimes the neck).

Regular physical activity focused on endurance sports appears to help mitigate these side effects of HIV drugs.

In some countries, exercise, where the risk of bleeding is high, requires a negative serum test for infection with HIV and hepatitis virus.

Sports and a cancer patient

People who receive cancer treatment find certain physical and psychological benefits from practicing sports. Their practice of physical exercise helps in combating stress, improving appetite, improving sleep quality, reducing some unwanted effects, and increasing confidence in their physical abilities… etc.

Provided that the state of health and physical condition allows, the practice of most sports (except for contact or combat sports) is possible during and after treatments: swimming, cycling, hiking, etc.

Is sport beneficial for people with disabilities?

For people with physical or mental disabilities, the benefits of exercise are of particular interest to them:

  • It gives them confidence and restores self-confidence on a psychological level.  
  • Their practice of sport represents the maintenance of social relationships.
  • Gain some autonomy.
  • The meeting of other disabled people with similar concerns reinforces many of the positive aspects of sport.
  • For people with physical disabilities, sports activity is necessary to maintain overall muscle flexibility and maintain an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to muscles that are no longer able to contract.
  • Sports activity also develops abilities that aim to compensate for disability by giving people with special needs muscle strength, skill, endurance (for example strengthening arm muscles when moving in a wheelchair), hearing and a sense of touch for the blind … etc.

Sports and intellectual disability

Sport allows people with intellectual disabilities among other things:

  • Discharging an excess of energy for the disabled.
  • Gain better coordination of movement.
  • Developing relationships with the environment, overcoming the problem of their isolation or their desire for isolation, and avoiding any social activity.
  • Sports, by practicing it as if it were a method of play, is a great way to encourage people with mental disabilities to interact with others, develop their communication skills, and spend time between taking advantage of the health benefits of sport and their feeling of love and social contact with those around them, including people they know or strangers.

What is the sport that a disabled person can do?

Many sports are open to people with disabilities, regardless of the degree of their disability.

In the French Federation of Paralympic Sports, there are 32 specializations for the disabled to practice and provide all information about places and conditions that help them to do these exercises, and the possibilities and ways to practice them.

However, the advice of medical professionals and rehabilitation is very important for choosing an activity according to the limitations associated with each activity and for each disability.

The French Sports Federation also offers many sports activities for people with disabilities, especially those with mental disabilities.

When the specialized sports supervisor chooses the sport that is suitable for the disabled to practice, the disabled athlete, like others, must obtain a medical certificate to allow him to practice it, and this takes into account the general health standards and the disability.

A person with a disability can participate in competitions held for his ilk, where a special games for the disabled are held (called the Paralympic Games) every four years and in the weeks following the Olympic Games and in the same location, and during the competitions, specialist doctors classify athletes according to their disability to form homogeneous groups into three categories, namely, disabilities Physical, hard of hearing, and intellectual disabilities.


To benefit from exercise, you should have these tips:

  • You should be exercising regularly for at least 3 to 5 days a week.
  • It is best to do daily exercise during the week.
  • Each person should be physically active for at least 30 minutes or more per day.
  • Physical activity should be practiced continuously and at moderate to vigorous intensity.
  • At the beginning of exercise, it may be difficult to regulate it, but gradually it becomes a healthy and irreplaceable habit.
  • To encourage you to exercise regularly, do your favorite sport with a friend who loves sports.
  • It is preferable to be under the supervision of a doctor to recommend an exercise program that suits your health condition.
  • In order for sport to remain a strong motivation, choose what sports you are allowed and enjoy, set your goals, and always reward yourself when you make any progress in this sport.
  • By practicing sports that are appropriate for your health condition, talk to your doctor or sports supervisor about some of your concerns or problems that arise to you about your exercise program from its inception so that you can continue it safely.


Endurance sports are the sports that come through doing aerobic exercises that depend on the strength of the heart and blood vessels in addition to the ability of the heart to pump blood to all parts of the body through training the heart muscle with a set of exercises that strengthen other body muscles such as the muscles of the hands and legs, and among these sports Called endurance sports, there are swimming, jogging, cycling, gymnastics, wrestling, rowing, judo, and water skiing.


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