Physical Activity Activity Book

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					 Teaching people how to increase the
  amount of physical activity they do
              each day

     Suggested activities for health professionals, carers and
          workers who support people with a disability

Department of Human Services


Osteoporosis is a major health concern for people with a disability. It is important
for people with a disability and their carers to be aware of the risk factors for
osteoporosis. The main risk factors are:

   •   Not enough calcium in the diet each day
   •   Not enough time spent in the sun each day
   •   Not enough regular physical activity

This booklet provides you with some activities that you can use to support people
with a disability to increase their awareness of the importance of regular physical

Why is regular physical activity important?

Regular physical activity, particularly weight bearing exercise, is important to reduce
the risk of osteoporosis for three main reasons:

   •   Physical activity, particularly weight bearing exercise, improves bone density
       and therefore makes the bones stronger and less likely to fracture.

   •   Physical activity increases muscle strength, and therefore people are less
       likely to have falls that may result in bone fractures.

   •   People with a disability may be unable to walk or may have low physical
       activity levels and therefore spend less time in the sunlight. This increases
       their risk of low vitamin D levels in the body.

Weight bearing exercise includes both resistance and impact exercise.

Resistance exercise strengthens both bones and muscles. It usually involves lifting
weights or moving the body against a resistance machine such as a weight-training

Impact exercise usually involves activities where the skeleton is forced to bear high
impact upon landing.

People with a disability may be limited in the type and amount of exercise they can
participate in. It is important that exercise programs are enjoyable and meet the
needs and capabilities of the individual person. The exercise chosen may be activities
that a person can do independently such as jumping, skipping, hopping, jogging,
strength or resistance-training exercise programs; or group activities such as
netball, tennis or dancing. A person who has a physical disability and is confined to a
wheelchair may participate in a range of individual or team sporting activity, or
exercise programs such as using weights. It is important to remember that any
physical activity will be beneficial.

    It is recommended that some level of physical activity becomes part of a
                            persons’ daily routine.

Using the activities in this book.

There are four suggested activities in this book that can assist your role in working
with or caring for individuals or with groups of people with a disability. These
activities can be used in the home, in day placement settings, in schools or at work.
These activities are suggestions only, and you can adapt them to suit the needs of
the people you are working with. You may also think of other activities to encourage
people to include more physical activity as part of their daily routine.

If strength or resistance training programs using weights and exercise equipment are
chosen, consultation with exercise or rehabilitation experts, such as physiotherapists,
is recommended for individual assessment and program development in order to
prevent injury.

                       Activity 1: Learning about osteoporosis

This activity will take about 15 – 30 minutes.

The aim of this activity is:

    •     To assist the person with a disability to learn about osteoporosis.
    •     To assist the person with a disability to understand the importance of including foods
          containing calcium in the diet each day.

For this activity you will need:

    •     ‘Strong Bones’ video

What to do:

Step 1:

Sit down with the person or group of people and watch the ‘Strong Bones’ video. This will
take about 7 minutes. Choose a time that will be free of distractions.

Step 2:

Create some discussion about the information in the video. Some questions you may ask

    •     What did the video tell you about strong bones?

    •     What types of exercise do you like to do?

    •     What types of exercise would you like to try?

    •     How often do you need to exercise to have strong bones?

                    Activity 2: Develop a physical activity plan.

This activity is based on the guidelines for developing activity plans for people with a disability
as presented in the following resource:

Let’s Get Active: Physical Activity for People with a Disability
Department of Human Services, Disability Services, 2001

A copy of this resource can be downloaded from the Disability Services website. Go to:

The aim of this activity is:

    •   To develop a plan of physical activity plan for individual people.
    •   To implement this plan as a regular part of the person’s daily routine.

What to do:

Obtain a copy of ‘Let’s Get Active: Physical Activity for People with a Disability’ and work
through each session outlined in the book.

Carers can work with individuals to complete ‘My Activity Book’. Try to include some regular
weight bearing or impact exercise in the activity plan.

Once the plan has been developed – put it into practice!

Activity 3: Exercise for Stronger Bones

This activity is designed as a group session that will take about 60 minutes. Less time will be
needed if you are working with one person. You may also choose to only use one or two
sections of this activity at any one time.

The aim of this activity is:

     •    To assist the person or group to learn about the importance of weight bearing
          exercise for bone health.
     •    To teach the person or group fun weight bearing physical activities can be
          incorporated into daily routine.

Session outline

The times in this outline are based upon using this activity with a group of 6-12 members.

Session Sections                                         Suggested Activities

Ice-Breaker                                              Group leader organises group to stand in a circle with
(10 minutes)                                             space to move, and organises each member of the
                                                         group to introduce themselves. This is achieved by each
                                                         member saying their name and demonstrating a stretch
                                                         exercise for the rest of the group to repeat.

Exercise – why is good for you?                          Exercise is important for strong bones. Exercise is also
(5 minutes)                                              fun, and helps keep you fit and healthy. There are many
                                                         types of exercise. Ask group members what sports they
                                                         are involved in. Emphasise that simple exercises can be
                                                         easy and help make bones strong.

Impact Exercises – for example, a relay race             Divide the group into two teams. Set up a relay race over
(15 minutes)                                             10-15m (space permitting). Group members must firstly
                                                         skip to the other end, and tag their team mate who then
Other activities such as dancing or aerobics exercises   skips back and tags team mate at other end until all
can be included in this section.                         team members have skipped. Then teams repeat relay
                                                         while hopping, and then two feet jumping. (Not all group
                                                         members may be able to complete each exercise. In
                                                         these cases, allow them to participate at their own

Resistance Exercise - Demonstration                      Group leader arranges members in a circle with space to
(10 minutes)                                             move. Resistance exercises must only be demonstrated
                                                         by a leader who has knowledge of correct technique and
                                                         types of resistance exercises. If unsure, omit from
                                                         program. Group leader demonstrates easy resistance
                                                         exercises that can be done with weights (depending on
                                                         facilities) and group members repeat the exercises.

Evaluation and Handout                                   In a circle, group leader asks each member to
(10 minutes)                                             demonstrate one exercise they have learnt in the

Questions and conclusion                                 Allow question time if needed. Expression of thanks for
(5 minutes)                                              interaction with the group.

Activity 4: Let’s Dance

This activity is a fun group activity. Time for this activity will vary, depending on the wishes of
all involved. Aim for at least 30 minutes.

The aim of this activity is:

    •   To assist the person with a disability to understand the importance of regular daily
    •   To provide an example of how physical activity can be fun.

For this activity you will need:

    •   Plenty of space
    •   A mix of music with different beats

What to do:

Play a range of music, encouraging participants to include jumping, hopping and skipping as
part of their dance routine.

This could also be a ‘dance party’ where healthy foods and drinks containing calcium are

Department of Human Services

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