Wellbeing & Motivation > ​Exercise for Everybody: Outdoor Exercising with a Disability

​Exercise for Everybody: Outdoor Exercising with a Disability

15th Jan 20

Exercising with a disability can put up some barriers for some people when it comes to their health. This is even more applicable when looking at getting enough exercise in the first place, and even more so when that exercise is outside. In any case, getting outside and being active can be a real challenge for both physical and mental reasons, but there are a few ways that you can try out to see if anything works best for you.

To try and make exercise accessible for everyone and to promote the healthiest standard of living we possibly can do, we’ve put together some of the best ideas we’ve got to help get the ball rolling. We’ve looked at a range of different forms of potentially accessible exercises designed to allow as many people to exercise as possible. Let’s take a look.

Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.

Hiking & Exploring

man in a wheelchair exercising with a disability

Getting exercise outdoors can be extremely difficult for people with a disability. If you have limited mobility especially, this can be a real challenge. Despite this, however, if you have some ideas behind you, it may also be the best thing you’ve not yet tried (as well as all of these from our limited mobility exercise article too!).

Hiking can be a great way to get out and enjoy not only the fresh air and outdoors, but also lets you move more and see new sights, helping to explore the world outside. That’s something everyone should do more often!

The great thing about hiking, however, is the diversity. You can go as far as you like, for as long as you like, wherever you like. It is completely tailored to suit your needs. You can go at your own pace and enjoy the exercise rather than forcing yourself through a tough workout.

Other aspects can come from this too, like making a trip out of it and being able to go camping or sightseeing and being able to go with friends or family and share the experience with them too. That all makes it even more enjoyable and lets you get the most out of your experience.


Couple on a tandem bike

Another way of exercising with a disability outdoors is cycling. It’s much more diverse than many people first think and can often again fit around your own personal preferences or needs. The real beauty of it comes from the experience outdoors too. You can enjoy what you’re doing whilst still getting the exercise to keep your body as healthy as possible. A good call can even be to join groups of people to help give you the support or motivation you need too. It can make it that little bit more fun if that’s what works for you.

For people with limited mobility, cycling can be modified to suit various needs wherever necessary as well. Hand cycling is one of the more common ways that cycling is more accessible to people with disabilities. It gives a complete variation of the mechanics of cycling so that you can go at your own pace without having to sacrifice any of your independence. You can really exercise your own way, and at different levels too. Whether you like a leisurely ride around your favourite places or trying to beat your own times on a trail, it’s up to you.

Paralympics cycling

Other types of cycling are available too such as tandem riding. That’s where someone is on the bike with you to give you any additional support you may need. It gives the social side of exercising again too, by giving you someone to exercise with, which is always a good thing. It makes it more fun and gives you someone to share the experience with so you can motivate each other. That’s rarely a bad thing!


Team playing blind football, exercising with a disability

The last big thing we’re going to look at here is sports. It’s a huge category, and that’s why it’s so easy to mention but difficult to go into depth with when it comes to exercising with a disability. A great place to start is usually at a nearby club or leisure centre, seeing what’s available, or looking online!

Although sports are much more seasonal, the great thing about them is how many different ways there are for you to get back into things. You can keep up your competitive side and joining a 5 a side football team or go completely the other way and go toe to toe in solo games. You really can take your pick.

On top of being fun, it’s also a great way to keep up your motivation to exercise when you play sports. The various games and objectives are renowned for being fun, so it’s always a good thing to test the waters!

All of these activities have support available in most areas, so it’s often wise to do some research before you decide or to find out what you need to do to get started if you are unsure. Any exercise is a good exercise, and the benefits can really make a difference to anybody. Exercising with a disability doesn’t have to be a limitation!

man doing lunges

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.