Adapted Physical Activity 1. 5.

Author: Yoana Filipic, Jasna Vešligaj Damiš

Keywords: adapted physical activity, EUSAPA, EUFAPA

Adapted physical activity (APA) is an extremely broad concept. Therefore, we cannot give a single exclusive definition. Opinions and views in this area are quite different. Greg Reid (2003) believes that the main problem lies in the word “adapted”. Most of us have some ideas about what physical activity means, however the word adapted is sometimes problematic. So, an immediate response is often: “It’s physical activity for people with special needs.” The APA description in terms of activity for people with disabilities gives us a perspective, but this is by no means a complete definition or more precisely a limited view of this concept (Reid, 2003). The development of APA for people with disabilities has gone through various stages of implementation and overcoming difficulties, due to differences in understanding in various paradigms - philosophical, kinesiological, psychological, and social. EUFAPA (European Federation of Adapted Physical Activity) defines APA as a cross disciplinary field of knowledge and research directed towards identification and solution of individual differences in physical activity. It is a service delivery profession and an academic field of study that supports an approach that promotes acceptance of differences among individuals, advocates improving access to an active lifestyle and sport activities and encourages innovation and cooperative service delivery and empowering systems (EUFAPA, 2018). The purpose of adapted physical activity is to promote human health, independence, quality of life and social inclusion. APA is an area of interdisciplinary expertise, which includes: rehabilitation and therapy; physical education and sport; recreation, competition and recreational activities; sport in all its dimensions (Ninor & Partyka, 2007, Mälkiä, 2002).

EUSAPA - European Standards in Adapted Physical Activities is a project that strives to develop and research adapted physical activity at a European level. It defines three areas of adapted physical activity - 1 - adapted physical education, 2 - adapted sports and recreation, and 3 - adapted physical activities in rehabilitation. The Finnish expert Mälkiä shares a similar opinion and states that apart from the implementation of adapted physical activity in sport, recreation and education, it is also important in rehabilitation of persons with disabilities or people with chronic diseases. Physical activity is crucial part of all areas of life - health, knowledge, social inclusion, education and rehabilitation. Adaptation of physical activity may also involve technical adjustments, such as using technical adaptation, adapting sports equipment and structural changes. For example in adapting rules and instructions of the game or in developing training, which means adapting professional approaches and methods and methods of exercise and teaching (Mälkiä, 1991).


EUFAPA - European Federation of Adapted Physical Activity,, Retrieved 2.2.2018

EUSAPA -European Standards in Adapted Physical Activities. Retrieved on 12.3.2018

Mälkiä, E. Puolanne, M. & Palosuo, M. (1991). Special Exercise 1: Appropriate Exercise basics. Jyväskylä. Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy.

Mälkiä, E. & Rintala, P. (2002). New Special Movement. Exercise facilitation for special groups Tampere. Tammer-paino Oy.

Ninot, G. & Partyka, M. (2007). 50 good practices for teaching APAs, REVUE EPS n°73, p.65

Reid, G. (2003). Defining Adapted Physical Activity. In R.D. Steadward, G.D. Wheeler, & E.J. Watkinson (Eds.), Adapted Physical Activity (pp. 11-25).