Carrying out recreational activities throughout the day is essential for everyone, regardless of their physical or mental abilities. It can help one be more self-reliant and promotes social inclusion. It also helps keep the mind active and improves quality of life. People with disabilities can choose from so many activities, either to take a moment for themselves or to spend time with their families. With this article, we want to provide you with 8 ideas of recreational activities that are easy to do every day. 

1. Gardening  

Gardening can be a recreational activity that offers a multitude of benefits both as a therapeutic development and to improve the independence and motor skills of people with physical disabilities. It can also be very useful for people with intellectual disabilities, as it helps control violent feelings, induces calmness, and increases learning abilities. 

Benefits of gardening for people with disabilities: 

Gardening is an excellent method of therapy and rehabilitation for motor and cognitive disabilities. The benefits associated with caring for plants and gardens are numerous: 

- Effectively improves motor skills 

It is ideal for people with motor and learning disabilities because it allows them to work with their hands and focus on a single goal, that of keeping the plants well cared for.

- Helps control aggression and anxiety 

Anxiety, stress and thoughts can be alleviated through contact with nature. 

- It is a tool for strengthening self-esteem 

gardening improves self-confidence and stimulates initiative and creativity. Also, in the case of people with relational problems, it helps them develop greater communication and work in groups to achieve a common goal. Planning and implementing a project leads the person to feel useful in society, which boosts his or her confidence, reduces anxiety, and increases productivity. In addition to the health and psychological benefits, gardening can be very useful on a physical level: for people with mobility problems, it can be good therapy, as it forces them to perform movements that allow them to work their muscles and strengthen them: taking care of plants forces them to bend, stand up, pick up weights, stretch, etc.

 

2. Painting

Painting can have several effects on the person practicing this activity: it calms the mind, increases concentration and creativity, as well as providing multiple motor and mental benefits. It turns out to be an ideal activity for people with disabilities. Painting can become a way to express oneself. People with disabilities can use art as a means of communication to externalize experiences that are difficult to communicate in words. Memories are told visually, getting in touch with the subconscious mind. Through painting, people with disabilities can release emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, which struggle to communicate with words, finding a new dimension through the application of color on canvas.

Painting can become a real therapy for:
- People with motor problems
- People who are unable to express themselves verbally
- People with mental and cognitive disabilities
- People with autism

For those with impaired motor skills, the Mia Medical Italy Multifunctional Basculatory High Chair can be a good solution for allowing recreational activities to take place because of its functional posture system: the person is guaranteed a constant change of posture, thus allowing him or her to position themselves correctly according to their needs. 

Multifunctional tilting high chair

3. Board games

Board games can be very useful for people with disabilities. Among the various benefits brought by this activity, one of the most important is the development of social skills, as many involve the teamwork. In this case, competition between different groups forces collective decision-making, stimulating mutual trust, which is essential to winning.

Board games can help improve self-confidence because just as in life, they force key decisions to be made in situations of doubt, forcing the person to take the risk of failure in the face of a wrong decision. This leads to developing a greater sense of responsibility and self-esteem. 

4. Sports

Nowadays, most of the sports we know can be played by people with disabilities. Taking into account the type of disability, several modifications will be necessary. Some sports such as horseback riding, swimming in the pool or basketball adapt their rules and modes of practice according to the degree of disability. Mind you, adapted sport does not mean easier or lower level! Adapted sport allows people with physical or intellectual disabilities to practice different disciplines, but it does not lower the level of competition or difficulty. 

What are the benefits of sports? 

Sports benefit everyone, regardless of their physical condition. 

Physical benefits: 

increases circulation, develops muscles, and perfects balance and coordination. Our physical condition improves, as does our stamina, strength, mobility and speed. 

Socialization: 

sport is very effective for social inclusion. Getting out of the house, making friends, and being part of a team can be difficult for people with reduced mobility or other disabilities. Humans, by nature, are social animals, and contact with others positively stimulates fundamental aspects of personality development. Contact builds social skills, cooperative relationships, recognition, tolerance, empathy and teamwork.  

- Psychological benefits: 

sport helps to increase the spirit of self-improvement, self-discipline and self-approval. It also creates a feeling of usefulness and recognition of one's abilities and skills for people with disabilities. It also improves self-esteem, as it generates a good perception of oneself because one feels satisfied that one has succeeded in doing what one set out to do.  

- Vital well-being: 

According to WHO, sport is the best remedy for many diseases and improves the quality of life for all of us. 

5. Kitchen

Another activity you can do if you have a physical disability is cooking. The possibilities are endless and it is a very useful entertainment. In this sense, we have to have an adapted space if the person moves in a wheelchair.

In fact, the kitchen is one of the spaces in the home that people are most likely to decide to say goodbye to when there is a disability. It is common for it to pose a difficulty because of the architectural barriers, so it is essential for the "reconquest" of this place to adapt and redistribute the space itself.

However, on many occasions this is not enough to achieve the person's autonomy in the kitchen. Many other variables come into play, such as personal ability and dexterity, which depend on sense-motor difficulties, knowledge of the different technical aids and support products available on the market, as well as training in their proper use and, above all, motivation and confidence in one's own abilities. 

6. Listening to music 

Listening to music is a recreational activity that can be done at any time and is very helpful in promoting communication and relationships, learning, expression, and also in improving a person's physical and emotional needs.

It serves not only as psychological development, but also for motor development, as people with physical disabilities can improve their motor skills by performing various movement and coordination exercises through sound.

Numerous studies confirm that music produces beneficial effects on sensory, cognitive and motor systems, which is why it stimulates creativity, thinking, language, learning and memory. Music also produces a "sedative" or relaxation effect that helps reduce anxiety and states of stress and nervousness, which can be particularly useful in physical and emotional rehabilitation therapies.

On a general level, we can distinguish the benefits of music therapy on three levels: 

Cognitive level

Music enhances the ability to learn and orient and improves attention span and concentration. 

Physical level

Music helps maintain joint mobility and strengthens muscles through relaxation and reduction of anxiety levels. Internalizing the rhythm, beat, or melody also affects people's physical abilities, improving their bodily response to stimuli, their balance, and their motor skills. 

Emotional level

Music therapy satisfies the need for recreation and escape and strengthens social interactions by increasing self-esteem, improving social skills, and helping to prevent isolation. 

7. Reading stories or listening to audiobooks 

Everyone loves a good story. Reading is one of the few disability activities that can be done alone, but reading to another person is a bonding activity: you can add your own personal touch to the storytelling, emphasizing certain parts of the story or adjusting your voice according to the events in the story. It is therefore the perfect activity to do as a family. Choosing to listen to an audiobook, on the other hand, can prove to be a fun alternative solution. Regardless of whether you choose to read a book or listen to an audiobook, there are many genres and types of books that vary in length. One can, therefore, always find something for all kinds of tastes. 

8. Spending time with animals  

Who doesn't like to play with animals? We all know how much better it can make us feel to come home after a stressful day at work and find our four-legged friend ready to greet us. Even for a disabled person, the companionship of these living creatures can prove to be like a therapeutic activity, because it can improve cognitive development and develop emotionality and empathy and teaches how to care for a creature different from oneself and boost self-confidence. This is precisely the principle of pet therapy, which especially with dogs proves to be very effective. Physical contact with an animal produces endorphins and dopamine, which are useful in reducing stress and giving positive emotions.

Conclusions

Doing activities is very important for people with disabilities. It is essential to find the one you are best suited for, to give vent to your creativity and give yourself a way to communicate what is often difficult to express in words. We would like to mention that trying an activity together is very important, especially if it is with a family member, as this can contribute to the general well-being of the whole family.

At Mia Medical Italia, we are always willing to provide a free consultation to listen to our clients' needs. Fill out the form and we'll get right back in touch with you. 

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