A Fitness Focus: The First Step to Get Started is to START

Gabriel Ryan,

School Health Blog Writer and Contributor


A Fitness Focus: The First Step to Get Started is to START

The new year often brings new fitness goals for people of all ages. People tend to create fitness goals for a variety of reasons. Many popular reasons include a focus on losing weight, gaining weight, increasing muscle mass or flexibility, taking on a new hobby, creating a change in lifestyle or routine, and so many more. Getting started and maintaining motivation can be hard and often, the grand fitness plan fails before it even gets started. There are so many reasons that just getting going can be difficult, depending on an individual’s situation. This includes not knowing the “why” behind an individuals’ fitness goals in the first place, setting too many goals at once, setting unrealistic expectations, relying on fitness equipment one may not have access too, not having the social/emotional/mental support to accomplish the goals, caving in to the not-so-healthy favorite snack too often, etc.. In this fitness-focused Access Angle segment, I’ve included a few resources full of ideas to learn more about fitness and creating realistic goals for yourself, your children, or those whom you provide support and services to.


The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition provides evidence-based guidance to help maintain or improve health through physical activity. This 2018 guide includes suggestions for all and specifically includes information for people with disabilities. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 provides advice on what to eat and drink to meet nutritional needs, promote health, and help prevent chronic disease. This guide includes suggestions for infants through older adults.


There are several websites with sections dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle for people with disabilities, here are a few examples:

One of my fitness goals this year is to increase my activity level with Cardio Drumming. This activity involves aerobic movements with the beat of a drum using just an exercise ball and drumsticks. I use a small 12-inch exercise ball with a set of lightweight drumsticks. Having a square of non-skid material under the ball and placed into a bowl helps to keep it stable. I also use my trusty GRIP Activity Pad. This is one of my favorite activities, I love the energy and music! Exercise bands are also another favorite of mine. Check out this Access Angle post related to exercise bands, Stretch Yourself to the Limit: CanDo Muti-Grip Exerciser.

School Health has numerous fitness resources and supports. Browse through the School Health website under categories such as Sports Medicine, Special Education, Early Childhood, and Physical Education to find products and ideas to support a variety of fitness goals. You’ll find fitness related products such as Exercise Buddy Pro which incorporates evidence-based practices to create success for individuals in the classroom: technology aided instruction and intervention, visual supports, video modeling, social narratives, and positive reinforcement for all individuals no matter their age, motor skills, or cognitive ability. You can also learn more about software and equipment with Focused Fitness and Palos Sports.

Focused Fitness offers unique curricula, instructional materials, professional development and software. The programs include Five for Life®, FAB 5®, WELNET® and Health READY®. WELNET® software provides the ability to collect and report student data related to fitness and health. Not only do these programs help kids stay active, but they also aim to teach key concepts like managing fitness, how fitness relates to overall health, and the role of good nutrition. Visit the website or contact a representative to learn more about how these programs can be adapted for students you serve.

Palos Sports supplies physical educators, fitness professionals, coaches and recreation directors with a variety of innovative sports and fitness equipment, activities and knowledge that will make their programs both impacting and successful. Their website includes an Adapted Physical Education section highlighting some adapted products which are great for all to use. Free resources for PE teachers or those looking for some innovative ideas, check out PE with Palos.

One important thing to incorporate as part of your fitness goals is hydration! I’ve shared in previous posts about the Giraffe Bottle Handsfree Drinking System which I use. No matter how you hydrate, keep in mind you may need to increase your intake as you increase your activity.


The first step to get started, is to START!


“You’ve got to figure out how to use what you’ve got to maximize your potential,

which in a way, is the story of all of us.” ~Unknown Author


Posted in School Health, Special Education, SH Special Education Today Newsletter and Access Angle Segment