Physical activity for the chronically ill and disabled

Document Type


Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Exercise prescription principles for persons without chronic disease and/or disability are based on well developed scientific information. While there are varied objectives for being physically active, including enhancing physical fitness, promoting health by reducing the risk for chronic disease and ensuring safety during exercise participation, the essence of the exercise prescription is based on individual interests, health needs and clinical status, and therefore the aforementioned goals do not always carry equal weight. In the same manner, the principles of exercise prescription for persons with chronic disease and/or disability should place more emphasis on the patient’s clinical status and, as a result, the exercise mode, intensity, frequency and duration are usually modified according to their clinical condition. Presently, these exercise prescription principles have been scientifically defined for clients with coronary heart disease. However, other diseases and/or disabilities have been studied less (e.g. renal failure, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, cerebral palsy). This article reviews these issues with specific reference to persons with chronic diseases and disabilities.


This article was originally published in Sports Medicine. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Sports Medicine


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