Center offers program to help people with disabilities get active, stay fit

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9:40 a.m., March 14, 2011----While it can be a challenge for people with disabilities to stay physically active, it is beneficial and even necessary to helping them maintain their health. To motivate individuals to develop a healthier lifestyle, the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies' Healthy Delawareans with Disabilities (HDWD) Project is promoting an email and online program created by the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) called “14-Week Plan to a Healthier You.” The program launches in mid-March.

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By signing up online, individuals who want to exercise on their own can receive weekly tips from NCPAD that will help them to stay on track with health and fitness goals for 2011. They will gain exclusive access to exercise and nutrition experts who can provide personalized guidance during the 14-week program. Weekly tips will include video clips and written materials on topics such as exercises for your home, innovative ways to increase activity level, ways to cook healthy recipes and more.

A “sneak peek” at the video clips shows tips that encourage better nutrition, including information about “whole foods” and easy ways to cook them and making healthy choices with “fast food.” Recipes are included for apple cheddar frittata, farmer's macaroni and cheese and other tasty and nutritious entrees. Exercise-related tips focus on topics such as overcoming barriers to exercise and visiting a fitness center for the first time.

Exercises will be demonstrated at varying levels of ability (core, modified, seated) with the advice “do what works for you,” says NCPAD Senior Information Specialist Blythe Hiss. Participants will also receive tools to log their progress, as well as ideas for healthy rewards.

“Twenty-one percent of Delawareans with disabilities report getting no physical activity compared to 8.5 percent of individuals without disabilities,” said Eileen Sparling, HDWD project coordinator, citing the 2009 Delaware Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. “This disparity is due, at least in part, to the lack of accessible exercise programs for people with disabilities. This 14-week program is a creative solution and a great way to bring adaptive physical activity to people with disabilities.”

Learn more about Healthy Delawareans by visiting the website or by contacting Eileen Sparling at [sparling@udel.edu] or 302-831-8802.

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