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Updated: 4 hours 19 min ago

Get active with a disability

Wed, 06/07/2016 - 16:37
Get active with a disability

A guide to getting active if you have an impairment or a long-term health condition.

This guide will help you:

Build activity into your day

To improve your health, try to put some time aside to do activities that improve your heart health and your muscle strength.

The Government recommends doing at least 150 minutes of activity a week as well as strength exercises on two or more days a week.

But don't worry about hitting these targets straight away: every little helps. What's more important is choosing an activity you enjoy.

The easiest way to increase your activity levels is to build activity into the things you do every day, like going to work, shopping and seeing friends.

Tips to build activity into your day:

  • walk or ride part of your journey to work or the shops
  • get off a bus or tube stop before your destination
  • if you drive, park further away from your office and walk or ride the rest of the way
  • go for a walk or a ride with your friend rather than meeting for coffee
  • exercise before or after work, or during your lunch break.
  • lots of gardening can provide a good workout
  • exercise in front of the TV
  • try an online video workout

Some charities have their own workouts online, for example the Multiple Sclerosis Society.    

Get more activity tips.

Search activities and events

Accessible gyms
Find an inclusive gym on the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) website.

Event finder
Use the EFDS event finder to find an activity in your area.

Get Inspired
Browse through activities on the BBC's Get Inspired section. 

Get into Paralympic sports
Find a sport based on your impairment and find a club near you using the Parasport website.

Disability sports listings

Most sports organisations actively encourage disabled people to get involved. The list of organisations below is by no means exhaustive. 

Sport-specific organisations

Angling
The British Disabled Angling Association supports disabled people of all ages and abilities to get into fishing in the UK.

Archery
The British Wheelchair Archery Association supports archers with all impairments from grassroots to elite level with expert advice and coaching. 

Athletics
If you're looking to start in athletics, Parallel Success offers great opportunities for disabled athletes.

Badminton
England Badminton Players Association for Disabled aims to get more disabled people into badminton at any standard or level.

Boccia
Boccia England is responsible for all aspects of the sport, from beginner to expert, providing for all levels of participation.

Bowls
Disability Bowls England aims to be the first port of call for anyone with a disability looking to get into bowls.

Cricket
Organisations working to boost participation in cricket include the English Cricket Board, the Cricket Federation for People with Disabilities and the England Cricket Association for the Deaf.

Cycling
Organisations helping disabled people get into cycling include Cycling UK, Hand Cycling UK and Companion Cycling.

Dancing
If you enjoy dancing for fun or to stay active, find a disability dance class near you with the Wheelchair Dance Sport Association.

Football
Find out where you can play disability football near you using the Football Association's Play Football section and the Disability football directory.

Sledge hockey
Find out how to get into sledge hockey with the British Sledge Hockey Association.

Fencing
Look up clubs and find out more about getting into disabled fencing with the British Disabled Fencing Association.

Goalball
Visit Goalball UK to find out more about the sport and how to get involved.

Golf
Golf organisations supporting and promoting disability golf are listed on England Golf's disability section.

Gymnastics
Find an accessible gymnastics club near you using the British Gymnastics website.

Horse riding
Find a riding group near you using the Riding for the Disabled Association.

Karate
Find a club near you using the English Karate Federation website.

Rowing
Find out how to get into adaptive rowing at British Rowing.

Sailing
Find an accessible sailing venue near you using the Royal Yachting Association website.

Shooting
Look up accessible shooting clubs on the Disabled Shooting Project website.

Snow sports
Find a local ski group, book lessons and find skiing activities near you at Disability Snowsports UK.

Strength and flex
Improve your strength and flexibility with this five-week exercise plan. Not adapted for wheelchair users.

Swimming
Find a swimming pool near you with disability access and local disability swimming clubs at Swimming.org

Table tennis
Table Tennis England works to increase the numbers of disabled people participating in table tennis.

Tennis
Find out about how to take part in tennis if you have a disability with the Tennis Foundation.

Volleyball
Find a sitting volleyball centre near you using the Volleyball England website.

Walking
Several websites provide information about local walking groups for the disabled, such as Disabled Ramblers and Walking for health.

Wheelchair basketball
Find a club near you and all you need to know about wheelchair basketball with British Wheelchair Basketball.

Wheelchair rugby
If you want to give wheelchair rugby a try, find your local club on the GB Wheelchair Rugby website.

National bodies

Back Up – supporting people with spinal cord injury

British Amputee & Les Autres Sports Association

British Blind Sport

Cerebral Palsy Sport

Dwarf Sports Association UK

LimbPower – supporting amputees and people with limb impairments to reach their sporting potential

Mencap Sport – supporting people with a learning difficulty

Metro – London-focused resource for blind and partially sighted people

Special Olympics GB – supporting people with learning disabilities

UK Deaf Sport

Transplant Sport UK

UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability

WheelPower – supporting wheelchair sport

Disability Sports Wales

Scottish Disability Sport

Disability Sports NI

Categories: NHS Choices