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Staying active

Girls with down-syndrome riding a bike.

One of the best things you can do for your health is find an activity that gets your body moving and stick with it. Having an illness or disability may limit what you can do. But try to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. You’ll likely wind up feeling strong — not just physically but emotionally too.

Being active can:

  • Be fun, whether you do things on your own or with friends
  • Make you feel better
  • Boost your energy
  • Help you feel less bored or sad
  • Help you handle stress
  • Keep your weight at a healthy level
  • Give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment

Staying active can also help keep away other health problems that may occur when you get older, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of cancers
  • Osteoporosis (say: OSS-tee-oh-puh-ROH-suhss), or bone loss

Talk to your doctor about the amounts and types of physical activity that are okay for you and your abilities. With your doctor’s permission, you should aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Activities that get you breathing harder and your heart beating faster should make up most of the 60 minutes. Some ideas include taking a walk, swimming, playing tag, or wheelchair basketball. You also should do activities that strengthen your bones and muscles. If 60 minutes sounds like a lot to you, don’t worry. You can break up the activity into 10 minute chunks during the day if that makes it easier.

For tips on physical activities and sports that you might try, see Sports and recreation.

For more information on staying strong, see what girls need to know about bone health. It includes ways to build bones if you’re in a wheelchair.


Content last reviewed February 16, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013