NHS Advice on Sport & Disability

The following article and its links are from the NHS website. It’s a great place to start if you are thinking about getting involved in a sport. And there has never been a better time to try sport if you are disabled, with the Paralympics in London in 2012, giving disabled sport a massive boost in this country.

When it comes to exercise, disabled people have pretty much the same options – everything from simply getting out a bit more to playing team sports.

  • 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, the Handcycling AssociationCompanion Cycling and Race Running.
  • Take up running – if you’re just starting out, try our popular Couch to 5K running plan.
  • Get moving with Strength and Flex, a 5-week exercise plan to increase your strength and flexibility (not suitable for 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 a health professional or ask an organisation for people with your disability about what the best exercises are for you.
  • Low-impact exercises such as yogapilates and tai chi have been adapted to suit the needs of people with different types of disabilities. Get advice first, however, particularly if you have a physical disability – exercises not suited to your disability may be harmful.
  • Choose a gym from more than 400 Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) accredited gyms. Find an opportunity near to you on Activity Alliance’s 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 that cater 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, such as blind football, have also been adapted to make them more disability-friendly.