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Get active with a disability - Exercise

Get active with a disability
Credit:

Jozef Polc / Alamy Stock Photo

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

This guide will help you:

  • build activity into your day
  • search for activities or classes
  • browse activities and sports

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 2 or more days a week.

But do not 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, such as the MS Society.    

Get more activity tips

Search activities and events

Accessible gyms

Find an inclusive gym on the Activity Alliance website.

Event finder

Use the Activity Alliance's event finder to find an activity or submit an opportunity 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 disability 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 Association UK and Companion Cycling.

Dancing

If you enjoy dancing for fun or to stay active, find a disability dance class near you with Para Dance UK.

Football

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

Fencing

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

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 website.

Karate

Find training opportunities near you from The Disability Karate Foundation website.

Rowing

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

Sailing

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

Shooting

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

Sledge hockey

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

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 5-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 number of disabled people who take part 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 wheelchair rugby 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 Blind Sport

Special Olympics GB – supporting people with learning disabilities

Transplant Sport

UK Deaf Sport

UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability

WheelPower – supporting wheelchair sport

Disability Sports Wales

Scottish Disability Sport

Disability Sports NI

Page last reviewed: 20 June 2019
Next review due: 20 June 2022