Engaging people with disabilities in sport key to better health, says UBC O prof

The Invictus games is for competitors with injury or illness sustained during military service

More than 500 athletes, from 17 countries will gather in Toronto this week to participate in the Invictus Games. Together, they will compete and challenge each other in 12 different adaptive sports from sitting volleyball, powerlifting, swimming, basketball and athletics.

For researcher Kathleen Martin Ginis, a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus, this activity is exactly what is needed to improve both the mental and physical abilities of people with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities. Her work explores the psychosocial consequences of physical activity and how to get more people with disabilities involved in sport and exercise.

Martin Ginis is the Founding Director of SCI Action Canada, a national alliance of community-based organizations and university-based researchers working together to advance physical activity participation in people with spinal cord injury. She is also the Principal Investigator of the Canadian Disability Participation Project, a SSHRC-funded Partnership Grant that brings together nearly 50 university, public, private and government sector partners to enhance community participation among Canadians with physical disabilities. Her research studies are some of the first to outline the psychosocial benefits and strategies for increasing physical activity that are helpful.

Established by Prince Harry in 2014, the Invictus games is for competitors living with an injury or illness sustained during active military service for their country, or for veterans who became injured or sick while serving their country. Besides healthy competition, there are documented research findings about the importance of sport and exercise for people with disabilities. Martin Ginis, a leader in this research will be in Toronto during the week of September 20 to 22. She is available discuss the importance of exercise and sport for people with disabilities.

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis joined UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences in July 2016. Prior to that, she was a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, where she also served as Inaugural Director of the McMaster University Physical Activity Centre of Excellence.

Her research frequently appears in the media and has been featured on CBC’s Quirks & Quarks, and in The Globe & Mail, The National Post, The New York Times, “O” The Oprah Magazine, Men’s Health & Fitness, and Shape Magazine, among others. Martin Ginis has published more than 250 peer-reviewed research articles and book chapters.

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