Reported by The Herald – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.
SPORT can have a huge impact on the life of a disabled person, improving both their physical and mental health, while also encouraging an active lifestyle.
It is recommended that children aged five to 18 get a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate physical activity at least three days per week, while most adults need at least 30 minutes, five times a week.
At the Independent Living Fund (ILF) Scotland, we support many young disabled people around Scotland through our Transition Fund, awarding grants to those aged 16-21 to help them try something new and enhance their social interaction with their communities – whether that be taking up musical lessons, learning to drive or funding a hobby.
However, a significant number of the applications we receive are related to sport – whether it be to fund equipment needed, public transport costs to get to competitions or class fees. The young people we work with are recognising the positives of taking up a sport or activity to enhance their lives.
Whilst we understand the barriers to an active lifestyle that a lot of young people living with a disability face, there are many ways in which we can promote accessible and adaptable sports, such as basketball, rugby and tennis.
It is no surprise that sport can improve physical aspects of a disabled person’s life. The physical health benefits include increased muscle strength and strengthened cardiovascular levels, as well as improved motor skills, all of which can be vital to ongoing treatment or quality of life.
As well as these improved physical attributes, young disabled people taking part in sport can also see an improvement in their mental health. Involvement in sport can reduce anxiety and stress, and generally improve mood. This is important for everyone, but can be crucial to people living with a disability.
Living with a disability or impairment – be that physical or mental – can at times feel lonely. Participation in sport is a great way of relieving social isolation as it encourages those who take part to socialise with others.
Independence is something that so many people take for granted, but it can be one of the biggest challenges for young disabled people.