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Exercising at home

Doing some exercise, even if it’s just a little bit a few times a week, can help you stay fit and healthy. There are lots of ways to exercise at home.

To help you do this, we’ve found some online exercise classes and workouts you could try. Start with finding the best workouts for you and getting into a routine.

Talking to your health professional

Before you start, talk to a specialist or health professional, like an occupational therapist (OT), if:

  • you’re not sure about what exercises you can do
  • you want to know what exercises are best for you to do
  • you need help making modifications to exercises
  • you need to get adaptations or specialist prosthetics

You could also talk to an organisation or charity for your condition or impairment.

Exercise classes for disabled people

There is a range of classes designed for people with different access needs. Check charities and organisations supporting your condition or impairment to find out if they have any suggestions, resources or classes. You could also check other local charities.

Being active at home (Activity Alliance) has a list of different exercise guides and home workouts for disabled people created by a range of organisations.

Activities and ways to move (We Are Undefeatable) has exercises for people managing a health condition.

Accessible Activities (Change4Life) for disabled children, young people and families. They also link to other organisations that help with getting active.

MovewithMencap YouTube videos show some exercises you can do with Andrew the dancer.

Health and Wellbeing #StayInWorkOut (CP Sport) personal trainer and nutritionist helped create CP health and exercise guidance during coronavirus.

Home workout with Kris (Parasport) offers free videos on stretching and mobility.

Johnny Peacock’s top tips for staying active (Parasport)

You lean me up app India Morse is a deaf online coach who creates accessible workout programmes.

Flamingo Chicks dance classes for disabled children on YouTube.

Finding exercise classes online

Trying different types of programmes and classes can help you find out what exercises you can do. This can be particularly useful if you’re doing workouts that are not designed for disabled people.

You could try:

  • searching online and on YouTube for workouts
  • looking for live online classes that you join on video with others
  • getting an exercise programme from a personal trainer, physio or OT over a video call

You could also take a look at:

Get active at home (Sport England) has a comprehensive list of paid online exercise subscriptions, free videos and home activities.

The body coach Joe Wicks has lots of classes on YouTube, from PE with Joe for families to a 7-minute ab workout or low-impact class for beginners.

NHS pilates for beginners focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility. It's suitable for all ages and fitness levels and the videos range from 10 to 45 minutes.

Adapting workouts

You can often adapt workouts to suit your needs. You might not be able to do all the moves or exercises and that’s OK. Doing some of the exercises will still be a good workout, especially if you enjoy the class or type of exercise.

You may also find some easily available equipment can help you to adapt your workout, such as resistance bands and yoga belts or straps.

Adapting activities (Activity Alliance)

You might try exercises that seem impossible or you struggle to adapt them. Over time, you may find that things you could not do when you started, you’re now able to do. This is not always possible but try not to lose hope if it’s hard at the beginning. It can help to retry some exercises after a month or so.

Remember that everyone has different abilities. If you can, avoid comparing yourself to others. Focus on your individual workout goals and achievements.

“I’m an upper-body amputee and I started doing yoga with a foam block to help me with the ‘on your hands’ moves. I struggled so much, they really seemed impossible. I felt uneven and it was really hard work. I nearly gave up.

6 months later, I can do most of the moves. It wasn’t so much that I was missing a hand but needed time and practice. I still have a few I cannot do and I hope to find ways around, but if I can’t, that’s OK too!”

Exercise in gaming

Some gaming consoles and apps have games that help make exercising fun. The best way to find exercise games is to search by the console you have. Here’s a few examples of what’s available:

Just Dance and Just Dance Now allow you to follow along with the dance moves for points to unlock more routines. You can get the game on Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox, as well as through a phone app.

Ring Fit Adventure for Nintendo Switch In story mode you use exercise on your quest to defeat a bodybuilding dragon called Dragaux. There are also mini-games and individual workouts to focus on specific parts of your body.

Zombies, Run (Mobile) is a mobile running game where you jog your way through the zombie apocalypse. There are lots of storylines to keep you motivated, but they’ve just introduced a new mini-storyline that focuses on home workouts.

Fitness Boxing is a workout with a virtual trainer, to punch and dodge and hook. Available on Nintendo Switch.

Government guidance on exercising outside

Keep checking for updated advice on:

If you do want to exercise outdoors, search for accessible places to go to on Accessible Countryside for Everyone.

Advice may be different if you are shielding.

Shielding guidance (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 04/11/2020

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