Regular Physical Activity 8. 1.

Author: Kovács Zsuzsanna, Antal Zsuzsanna

Keywords: disability/impairment, physical condition, motivation, guiding


Suppositions, studies and questions about quality of life and longevity are not new at all. Perhaps it is one of the most ancient questions of mankind: the question of what makes a human satisfied, what makes life meaningful and happy, and what is the secret to have a full and good life. The basic aim of human existence is to practise human functions as fully as possible. The living conditions of mankind have changed to a great extent, but the final aim remained the same - reaching happiness and integrity.

There are many conditions influencing one’s quality of life. Including, but not limited to: culture and leisure activities, economic situation, environmental conditions, infrastructure, secure and health state. These factors are of course all related to each other, and they cannot be examined on their own. Just a simple example: financial wealth influences the consumption rate of healthy food as well as the total spent on health insurance. The quality of our nutrition and the money spent on relaxation and recreation influences our health state, etc.

Life length and life quality cannot be separated from each other, either. The higher our quality of life is, the more likely that we will live to a higher age. If we spend the last 5-10 years of our life ill, then we speak about a lower life quality.

It is useful to consider factors affecting life quality in terms of those ones we can influence. Our health state is such a factor. If you think that we are merely passive sufferers of the nature of our genetic map that is not necessarily true. We can do against the encumbered gene pool for example by attending regular screenings or by doing regular physical activity and sport.

Conceptual definition

Advantages of regular physical activity are well-known, “regardless of sex and age”. Beyond the general, favourable impacts of physical training and sport, it can be applied in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of some illnesses. Based on the stand of several Hungarian and international statements it can be stated that:

  • Regular physical activity reduces the number of illnesses and early deaths due to hypertonia, diabetes, coronary-artery disease and obesity.
  • Its advantageous impact attunes the motoric system.
  • The regulation of central nervous system improves.
  • The capacity of the endocrine system grows.
  • The metabolism will become more economical.
  • It affects the function of the immune system advantageously.
  • It prevents obesity and illnesses connected to it.
  • The oxygen supply of the organism improves.

As a bonus, regular physical activity also has a good impact on our psychological well-being:

  • It reduces anxiety and depression.
  • It maintains memory.
  • It increases self-esteem and self-confidence.
  • It stimulates endorphin production that brings about the growth of long-term happiness.
  • It increases libido.

Even a moderately intensive and a moderate time of physical activity has a positive impact (e.g. 30 minutes of walk done 4-5 times a week) as it is able to improve one’s state of health and quality of life.

Regular physical activity and recreational sport activity are an important element of health behaviour as it has an important role in the prevention and intervention of several chronic illnesses. Regular physical activity has a significant life quality-raising impact both among healthy people, those suffering from chronic illnesses and those with disabilities. It improves corporal and mental health, as well as psychosocial well-being and the ability of coping with stress.

In places where there is lower economic deprivation, the frequency of doing regular sport activity decreases, thereby contributing to lower health indicators of these groups. However, there are unexploited health development opportunities that could be addressed by movement intervention programmes that could target these groups. With the use of adequate tools and measures this could provide a cost-efficient solution to increase the physical and mental health of this population.

The question of social responsibility has been brought into the foreground, according to which sport has a positive impact on the individual and on wider society. Higher economically and socially developed countries have already recognized that quality of life in society contributes to the economic success of the individual, his/her broader surroundings as well as to that of the country. On the contrary, where people are struggling with illnesses and psychological disorders this can place a large burden on the social security of the given country.

What can regular physical activity mean to people with disability?

Irrespective of having physical, intellectual, mental, psychosocial or sensory disabilities, regular physical activity can create stability in the individual’s life. Not only because this can contribute to the development of a routine, but also because certain exercises contribute to the production of endorphins, thus promoting the feeling of happiness.

Photo: Zsuzsanna Antal, Boccia, Human Profess, Szombathely, 2017

Photo: Zsuzsanna Antal, Boccia, Human Profess, Szombathely, 2017

Models and methods

Here, the physically injured have to be emphasized since for them, regular physical activity means life itself. Therefore, this is the only means by which self-care may be promoted or facilitated.

There are several models (ICF, IMAPA) and methods (Dévény Anna, Pető András) which aim to improve the state of people with physical injuries.

However, it is well-known that models only serve as a theoretical basis as they often simplify reality. On the other hand, methods only provide solutions for certain types of diseases. Consequently, the combination of different methods or modified versions may be the solution.

Individualised physical training/physiotherapy for physically injured people

Before creating a training plan, the characteristic features and the symptoms of a disease have to be studied, in addition to its development. This information is important as it can influence and explain how unmotivated or motivated the individual is and influences the end result to be achieved. In addition to this, family background is also of great importance. The key to regular physical training/physiotherapy is to continuously set achievable goals and promote a sense of achievement.

Relationships and guiding in the interest of the successful training of people with disabilities

The type of impairment


Physical impairment acquired by stroke

Restoring former physical condition

Cerebral palsy acquired during/after childbirth

Achieving the possible highest level of self-care

Person suffering from muscular atrophy

Delaying the impairment of condition at the possible highest level

Injury or limb loss acquired by accident

Restoring former physical condition

Person with multiple impairments

At least maximising physical condition

Table 1: The relation between the type of physical impairment and the main goal of physical training/adapted physical education

Source: Data colection of Zsuzsanna Kovács made among her disabled sport mates, 2018

Life stage



Acquiring reward


Reducing dependency on parents


Starting an independent life


Commitment in a relationship and family

Divorced/ Widowed/ Elderly single people

Preserving the ability of self-care as long as possible.

Table 2: Different life stages and motivational strength

Source: Data colection of Zsuzsanna Kovács made among her disabled sport mates, 2018

Physical condition

Intrinsic motivational level

What can the sport expert do?

The development of physical condition has just started (child)

Very motivated (from instinct)

Diversified exercise series, maintenance of interest/curiosity is essential,

Rehabilitation following an accident

Very motivated (from instinct)

Diversified exercise series, maintenance of interest/curiosity is essential

Rehabilitation following a reconstructive surgery correcting former injury/impairment

Motivated, (the hope of a physical condition being better than the previous), however, this can diminish quickly if there are no small senses of achievement since it may happen that the physical condition has to be improved from the lowest level as a result of the surgery.

Not only a diversified exercise series, but also a diversified environment (background music, exercises done outdoors, diversified training program (floor exercises – swimming – horse-riding) is necessary.

Physical condition that has been stagnating for a long time

Unmotivated (It may have been triggered by the same exercises that had to be done too many times and also by little sense of achievement or by too great goals or the lack of goals together. Respectively, the individual is satisfied with their state and thinks that it is enough to take actions if the next stage of the impairment of condition begins.)

In the first case, diversified training program, exercise series, environment, and surmountable challenges are essential. In the second case, motivating conversations supported by powerful arguments are necessary (With physical training the next stage of the impairment of condition can be delayed and/or its degree can be decreased. The decrease/termination of possible pains or the control or termination of the assuaging of pain with medicine can also be achieved.)

Continuously deteriorating physical condition

Unmotivated (embittered, tired of, resigned themselves to their condition)

Combination of various methods, developing new methods in close collaboration with the individual in order to stop or reverse physical deterioration or showing a tiny ray of hope regularly in any way.

Table 3: What the expert can do according to the level of physical condition and motivation

Source: Data colection of Zsuzsanna Kovács made among her disabled sport mates, 2018

To achieve and maintain the demand for regular physical activity, we have to continuously affect the individual’s emotions either by encouraging, praising, warning, or sanctioning which depends on the individual’s personality to a large extent.


DSGM Retrieved from: (2018. 07.26)

Meet the needs of all individuals with IMAPA Retrieved from: (2018. 07.26)

Method by Pető András Retrieved from: (2018. 07.26)

The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) Retrieved from: (2018. 07.26)