Support disabled people to be and stay active on National Fitness Day

Today is National Fitness Day (27 September), a day dedicated to all things physical activity, celebrating the joys of being active with an opportunity to try free activities across the UK. The English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) is a passionate advocate for activity and the many benefits it brings disabled people and those with long-term health conditions. We are proud of our programmes, like the Inclusive Fitness Initiative, breaking down barriers and promoting the importance of accessible opportunities. 

Liam Adams exercising in the Abbey Leisure Centre

Our purpose is: making active lives possible by enabling organisations to support individual disabled people to be and stay active for life. Here, we revisit three disabled people's stories.

Every Friday our website features a blog. We’re particularly keen to provide a platform for disabled people, and those who support their journey to being more active, to share their experiences.

Below three people share their own positive lived experience about inclusive fitness.

Wendy Hall from Dudley:

Wendy tells us why going to the gym is about much more than just working out:

“As a qualified gym instructor and fitness enthusiast, I love to try different classes and exercises. I enjoy everything from spin, aqua, kettlebells to LBT (legs, bums and tums) – I’ve even tried insanity (once was enough)!

"When I join in a fitness class, I feel like everyone else. Just perhaps not as fast. I like to give the instructor a heads-up, in case they think I’m struggling. I always feel exhausted and sore afterwards, but I know I’ve worked hard and had fun.  

"My spinal injury can make things challenging at times, but being active helps me to engage my body and mind. Both physical and cognitive exercises support me with everyday functions like walking, balancing and stretching”.

Read Wendy's story here.

Liam Adams:

Liam tells us what it’s like to use an inclusive gym.

“I started attending the Abbey Leisure Complex, situated on Whitehill Road in Cambridge, in November 2016. For most people choosing a gym is as simple as going online, looking up the cheapest option and applying to join. That wasn’t the case for me though, as I have cerebral palsy, and am completely reliant on an electric wheelchair in my day-to-day life.

"I use a large chair which can make tight spaces difficult to manoeuvre around. Some people with a less severe form of cerebral palsy, who are able to bear weight, would be able to transfer onto the seat of whichever exercise machine they wish to use. Unfortunately I am unable to do this. On top of that, the lack of mobility in my joints can mean that I find it difficult to hold on to some weights and bars or handles. This combination of circumstances would, more often than not, mean that the majority of equipment in most gyms would be impossible for me to use.

"Thankfully this isn’t the case with the Abbey. First off, the gym is large, with its equipment spaced well apart which makes it easy for me to get around. As an added bonus it also means that it’s easier for other people to move around without having to ask me to move and let them through. There is nothing worse than trying to work out while being constantly asked to move, whether you are disabled or not!”

Read Liam's story here 

Chandni enjoys the fitness buzz

Chandni lives and works in London, and is a fitness fanatic. She says that without the support she gets from her local gym she wouldn't be able to exercise.

Watch Chandni’s film here

Find out more about making your opportunities inclusive for disabled people

EFDS is supporting National Fitness Day and would like to hear from those organisations running inclusive and accessible events. Or contact us to access a wealth of resources and training. Follow #FitnessDay or #NationalFitnessDay to learn more about the opportunities available.

How are you being active on the 27 September?