Suffering from a chronic illness or disability should not be seen as an obstacle to engaging in sports activities. Indeed, playing a custom sport, when accompanied by disease control treatment, brings many physical and psychological benefits.
In children with chronic diseases or developmental disorders, playing sports encourages socialization and strengthens self-esteem.
Sports and asthma
Asthma is expressed in an acute form with cough attacks and a feeling of suffocation. It is mainly caused by the presence of an allergen (substance that causes attacks: pollen, dust, hair, mites, etc.) which worsens chronic bronchitis. The bronchi constrict and secrete mucus: the air is difficult to circulate to the lungs and especially outside them. Psychological factors such as stress or anxiety can worsen or even trigger seizures.
People with asthma can participate in most sports and benefit from them. However, training must be tailored and individualized. Warming up is especially important. Exercise started too abruptly can, after five to ten minutes, trigger an asthma attack called exercise-induced asthma. To avoid these crises, it is necessary to warm up very gradually and, eventually, inhale a few breaths of bronchodilator aerosol prescribed by your doctor a quarter of an hour before training.
People with asthma should also watch out for cold air: it is better to cover their nose and mouth with a scarf or balaclava, or they prefer indoor sports (if it is not too dusty!).
Sports that are contraindicated for asthmatics are diving and horseback riding (for people allergic to horse hair or sweat). Sports that expose you to cold air (hiking, skiing, parachuting, etc.) should be practiced with caution. Swimming seems useful (the air in the pools is warm and humid) except for those who are sensitive to chlorine fumes.
Sport and obesity
When adapted to their abilities and related to diet, sports activity leads to many physical benefits for people who suffer from obesity: weight loss, decreased appetite, reduced cardiovascular complications, reduced blood pressure, better resistance to exertion.
It turns out that the psychological benefits of sports are equally important. People regain self-confidence and have a better image of themselves because they participate in activities that they often thought were inaccessible. There is also a decrease in anxiety, often present in obese people, and a new awareness of your body.
However, the beneficial effects of sports on obesity usually disappear as soon as it stops. Therefore, care must be taken to choose a motivating activity that allows the individual to persevere and progress. Certain activities should be avoided, such as those that can damage the hips, knees and ankles (jogging, tennis, ball sports, etc.). Swimming or cycling are more convenient to start with. In children who suffer from obesity, low-traumatic games allow a lot of energy to be expended.
Sports and diabetes
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels. Without it, this rate becomes too high. If glucose is the main food of our cells, levels that are too high for years cause damage, especially in the blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nervous system.
Sport and insulin dependent diabetes (type 1)
People with insulin-dependent diabetes no longer secrete enough insulin to control their blood sugar levels. In order to maintain a normal level, they must inject this hormone regularly. This disease usually occurs in young adults.
In the first years after discovering his disease, a type 1 diabetic can play any sport, on the advice of a doctor, and even compete at a high level. The only absolute contraindications are sports in which the loss of consciousness caused by hypoglycemia (insufficient blood sugar level) would be catastrophic: diving, climbing, kite flying, etc.
To be able to exercise without danger, an athlete with type 1 diabetes must have diabetes that is well controlled by insulin injections and must be aware of his body’s reactions to exercise. Indeed, in order to maintain a sufficient level of blood sugar, he must plan the consumption of energy in connection with his efforts. This allows him to adjust his diet and the dose of insulin he needs to inject.
In addition, during sports, it is generally recommended that insulin be injected away from working muscles to prevent it from being absorbed too quickly. As always in the case of diabetes, and even more so when you do sports, it is important to have a drink or sweet food on hand. This helps to deal with a possible sudden drop in blood sugar levels and to avoid loss of consciousness.
Sports and insulin-dependent diabetes (type 2)
People with insulin-dependent diabetes still secrete insulin, but this hormone is less effective on the body. This disease mainly affects obese and elderly people.
Sport is completely possible for people with type 2 diabetes. However, they must do it under strict medical supervision and after a cardiovascular assessment. Indeed, in people suffering from heart and blood vessel disease, sports can cause angina attacks or heart attacks.
Other complications associated with diabetes (arterial hypertension, retinal bleeding, the presence of protein in the urine, insensitivity of the feet and hands, etc.) must also be detected, otherwise it will worsen with exercise.
In terms of diet, physical activity has a beneficial effect on this disease because it contributes to weight loss, fat reduction and better insulin sensitivity.
People with type 2 diabetes are generally offered moderate-intensity physical activity (20 to 30 minutes, at least three to five times a week). All physical and sports activities of medium intensity and long duration (walking, cycling, cross-country skiing, hiking, etc.) are especially indicated.
Sports and cardiovascular diseases
Physical activity is possible, and even recommended for people who suffer from many chronic cardiovascular diseases: hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, etc.
In hypertensives, the sport of endurance, which is practiced until the onset of shortness of breath for at least half an hour three times a week, allows lowering blood pressure by one point for high value (systolic pressure) and low value. (diastolic pressure).
In people who have had a heart muscle infarction (part of this muscle has died from suffocation), or who have undergone a heart transplant, moderate endurance activity in the context of medical follow-up allows for faster recovery. Of course, these patients are no longer concerned with intense sports.
Sport and back pain (lumbago)
For people who suffer from back pain and sciatica, it is best to avoid so-called asymmetric sports (which mostly work on one side of the body): racket sports, golf, for example.
Ball sports that require a change of direction with one foot (football, rugby, handball) should be practiced with caution.
Sports that strengthen the back are warmly recommended: swimming, rowing, bodybuilding. Prior medical examination is, of course, necessary.
Sports and chronic inflammation of the intestines
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are chronic inflammations of the intestines that are sometimes accompanied by minor bleeding. These two diseases develop in attacks during which sports activity is not recommended.
Outside of these periods, all sports can be practiced except endurance running, which can worsen intestinal microhemorrhages. Energy drinks that are too concentrated are not recommended because they can cause or worsen diarrhea.
Sport and epilepsy
This disease, which causes convulsive seizures (loss of consciousness and uncontrolled muscle movements), is a consequence of abnormalities in the functioning of the brain. Children with epilepsy are often excluded from sports. Wrong, because the disease is generally well controlled by treatment and does not prevent physical activity. Even swimming, under supervision, can be considered.
Sports that are contraindicated in people with epilepsy are diving, martial arts or violent sports. Water sports require wearing a life jacket at all times. Generally speaking, it is better to avoid lonely sports (only hiking and mountaineering, swimming in the sea, free flight solo, etc.) and prefer team sports or athletics.
In all cases, it is necessary to take therapy regularly, to be especially careful when changing the therapy or dose, and to always carry medication and a card that shows that you suffer from epilepsy.
Sport and neurodegenerative diseases
These diseases (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.) can be very disabling. However, they do not preclude playing sports completely, which can also help maintain relative autonomy for longer.
The French Federation of Custom Sports allows people suffering from this type of disease to register in many disciplines.
Sport and HIV / AIDS infection
People living with HIV / AIDS who are being treated sometimes suffer from poor distribution of body fat: thinning of the face and limbs, overweight in the abdomen, and sometimes in the neck.
Regular physical activity, with a focus on endurance sports, seems to help mitigate these harmful effects of HIV drugs. In some countries, playing sports where the risk of bleeding is high requires a negative serological test for HIV and hepatitis virus infection.
Sport and cancer
People who are being treated for cancer find certain physical and psychological benefits from engaging in sports activities: fighting stress, improving appetite, better sleep quality, reducing certain harmful effects, greater confidence in their physical abilities, etc.
Provided that the health condition and physical form allow it, during and after the treatment it is possible to do most sports (with the exception of contact or martial arts): swimming, cycling, hiking, etc.