When it comes to exercise, disabled and non-disabled people have pretty much the same options – everything from simply getting out a bit more to playing team sports. Once you start looking, you’ll be surprised how much is out there. Below are some ideas:
- If you can walk, there’s no easier way to increase your activity levels. Try to include walking in your daily routine. Find a friend to walk with, or join a walking group for some extra motivation.
- Cycling: there are tricycles, quadcycles, recumbants, hand-powered bikes called handcycles and power-assisted bicycles, all of which are alternatives for those unable to ride a regular bicycle. Find out more at British Cycling, Handcycling Association, Companion Cycling and Race Running.
- Take up running. Running is an effective and straightforward way of exercising. If you’re just starting, try our popular Couch to 5K running plan.
- Get moving with Strength and Flex, a five-week exercise plan to increase your strength and flexibility. Not suited to wheelchair users.
- Split activity up throughout the day. You can achieve your target in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Try these 10-minute workouts. Talk to your health professional or ask an organisation for people with your impairment about what the best exercises are that can help you to achieve your goal.
- Low-impact exercises such as yoga, pilates and tai chi have been adapted to suit the needs of people with different types of disabilities. Get advice first, however, especially if you have a physical impairment: exercises that are not suited to your impairment may be harmful.
- Choose a gym from one of more than 400 Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) accredited gyms. Find your nearest IFI facility by going to the English Federation of Disability Sport website.
- Swimming can feel quite liberating if you have a physical disability, as your body is mostly supported by the water. Many pools offer classes and sessions catering specifically for disabled people. Find out more at swimming.org.
- Adapted sports – many sports can be played by disabled people on the same basis as non-disabled people. Some have also been adapted to make them more disability-friendly, such as blind football. You can find out more about these and other sports from Parasport.