What does it mean to be "healthy" as a person with disabilities?

Tamara Gallman
February 13, 2021

What Does It Mean To Be "Healthy" As A Person With Disabilities?

The World Health Organization, abbreviated as WHO, defines the term “health” as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 2020). Although this may have a broader definition than what people typically think health means to them, there is still room to be more inclusive in the traditional definition.

The CDC, or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, articulates that having a disability does not define an individual’s state of “healthiness” and that being healthy applies to everyone: achieving and maintaining wellness to the individual’s capacity to lead fulfilling lives (CDC,2020). Through this statement, healthy means to utilize information and the appropriate tools to make healthy choices, prevent illnesses and have a better quality of life.

Health is a "state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (WHO, 2020)

More often than not, “health” is typically tied to physical activity in a way that is specifically targeted to messages of obesity and weight. This is not to say that physical exercise is not important, though, (because it definitely is!), but more so, to rethink how we as a community of persons with physical disabilities address health and physical activity.

Physical activity has many benefits ranging from physical health, social health, and cognitive/emotional health. By engaging in physical activity, you can:

  • Increase endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoid – which are all chemicals in the brain that are associated with feelings of happiness.
  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as amplify self-confidence.
  • Improve swelling in joints, muscle strength, and stamina
  • Reduce the risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease
  • Contribute to social status or social benefits as group physical activity may increase friendship, bonding, and social integration

Disability Partnerships offers six-week, local Adaptive Wellness Classes because we want to give people the tools to improve their overall health and wellness.

How do you define health and wellness? Do you use a broader term of “health” for everyone or do you consider “health” differently for each person? Let us know what you think about the definition of being “healthy" by connecting with us on Twitter or Facebook.


CDC.(2020). Disability & health information for people with disabilities.

WorldHealth Organization (WHO). (2020). Frequently asked questions.


Bikes for people who can’t use their legs

Demetrius Campbell
May 24, 2021

For many years, bicycling has not only been a form of transportation, but it has been a way of life for most including a way to get some extra cardio and exercise in. For riders with disabilities, adaptive bicycles can help them achieve their health and wellness goals.