The Importance of Exercise for Children and Adults with Special Needs

EVERYONE can benefit from the release of excess energy, burning unwanted calories and the pure enjoyment of physical activities.  This also includes children and adults with special needs.  People with physical or emotional difficulties are not always encouraged to exercise because the fear of injuries or frustration completing the activity.  However, fitness is critical for EVERYONE’s health.

Being physically active can impact a people with special needs’ development skills, helping implant a sense of self-confidence by improving social skills and leadership development. It can also help weight management by keeping the person healthy and strong in the short and long-term.

Kids and adults with physical disabilities face challenges. Some people have limited mobility and/or tire more easily than their peers. For some people with sensory issues, communication challenges or difficulties with social skills, team sports are simply not fun. Kids and adults with side effects from medication, those who are always overtired from lack of quality sleep and people who are overweight and not physically fit will not enjoy many organized activity programs. What is the solution?

Have you heard of ZamDance?  ZamDance is a FUN, dance fitness program especially created for children and adults (ages 8 – adult) with developmental and physical differences.  The program introduces a structured environment while allowing participants with special needs to move at their own pace.  This class also keeps dancers happily engaged while learning different dance steps such as MERENGUE, JAZZ, and HIP-HOP and making new friends with their peers!

The movement of their bodies to the rhythmic music has many health benefits that transcend aerobic activity and the simple of burning of calories though.  This program allows participants with special needs to express themselves through dance in a way that builds confidence, creates empowerment and unites a community that accepts them as they are – while learning the importance of sustained physical activity.

Fitness for Health is proud to partner with Jackie Zamora to offer ZamDance from 6pm – 7pm on Friday nights now through March 3 in the 1st floor gym of Fitness for Health located at 11140 Rockville Pike in Rockville, MD.  Click here to register for ZamDance – our weekly, glow-in-the-dark, dance party for the special needs community.

As the founder of Fitness for Health (a therapeutic fitness facility located in Rockville, MD, that helps the special needs community obtain the physical, emotional and social skills to reach their full potential) and a certified Athletic Trainer for more than 25 years, I believe that many people with special needs believe that exercise has to be boring and unenjoyable due to potential time spent completing traditional occupational and/or physical therapies that do not incorporate exergaming or cutting-edge technology.  People assume exercising has to be sit-ups, running on a treadmill or playing a fast-paced, team sport.  Fitness needs to be fun and can be ANY physical activity that gets you moving!

Do you or a loved one want to burn calories while expressing your creative side and making new friends with similar interests?  Try our weekly, glow-in-the-dark ZamDance class!

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health has been recognized as Washington Family Magazine’s 2016 Best Special Needs Program and Best Special Needs Camp in the DC Area and a finalist for’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Special Needs Resource in the D.C. Region.  At Fitness for Health, you get a complete team—including fitness specialists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists—working together to create a full-service plan of care that’s expertly tailored to you or your child’s developmental, skill and comfort levels while using cutting-edge, exergaming technology. As a parent, you’re involved every step of the way.

Areas of improvement may include:

  • Functional movement / play skills
  • Gross motor function and coordination
  • Crossing the midline
  • Mental processing
  • Motor planning and motor sequencing
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Locomotor skills
  • Visual motor/perceptual motor skills
  • Proprioception and balance
  • Age-appropriate social skills

Most of Fitness for Health’s exergaming equipment tracks results as they happen, so your child can gain the confidence that comes from seeing his or her performance improve over time. Learn more about our Success Builds Success approach.

Attend our Open House for Prospective Families from 5pm – 6pm on Sunday, February 5, and learn how our therapeutic exerciseoccupational therapy services, and physical therapy services can help your family members reach their full potential.