Exercise with a condition or disability
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Every move counts

Exercise and being active are great for your health whether you have a disability or long-term health condition, or not. In fact, exercising can help with the management of many health conditions and is well documented in helping people to cope with low mood or other common mental health issues.

A peer-reviewed statement published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2021 showed that the benefits of moving more clearly outweighed any potential risk for those with long term health problems (excluding a handful of conditions like ME and long-COVID for which evidence isn't yet clear).

Managing long term health conditions

Being active can help you manage long term health conditions. That's the inspiration for the #WeAreUndefeatable campaign from Sport England and 16 of the country's leading health charities.

Exercise on referral/Exercise prescriptions

Doctors and health professionals can refer patients with certain medical conditions to a qualified exercise specialist who devises and delivers a 12-week tailored exercise programme at a reduced price. Visit your local GP or health professional and ask if they will refer you.  

Improving your mental health

Staying healthy includes your mental health too. Across Surrey there are lots of activities to specifically boost mental wellbeing.

Additional needs & disabilities

There are lots of activities that are inclusive of disabled people in Surrey, but knowing where to find them can be tricky. You can search for specific activities like wheelchair rugby or stoolball using our Activity Finder and see some key local providers of activities for disabled people in the section below.

There are often details of some specific activities for young people on our Para Games page, or you could also check out the Surrey Local Offer for SEND for more general physical activity options.

Research - inclusive activities in Surrey

Two surveys' results released in Feb 2022 - one for parents/carers of children with additional needs and disabilities and another for professionals supporting them - show how young people in Surrey can be helped to take part in more sport and physical activity. 

A staggering 74% of them would like to be given opportunities to be more active. You can read more by clicking in the boxes below, but key findings include:

  1. Anxiety, fear of judgement and not having anyone to do activities with are the three main barriers to participation from young people with additional needs.
  2. Managing young people's ' expectations by providing more upfront info can really help ease anxiety (see our inclusivity tips sheet for more ideas). Images and videos are particularly useful for some. 
  3. To increase accessibility and participation, smaller group sessions are preferred, run by providers whose staff have some understanding of the needs of young people with disabilities. If this greater knowledge can be offered alongside occasional one to one support (perhaps supplied by parents or siblings who are able to participate at a subsidised rate), anxiety can often be further reduced.

Inclusive activities & young people - report

(Click below or see the accessible version)

Inclusive activities - infographic

(Plain text version)

Tips on making your sessions more inclusive

Key providers of disabled sport in Surrey

Wheels for All

Wheels for All encourages all children and adults with disabilities and differing needs to engage in a quality cycling activity. Using specially adapted cycles, the activities are both physically and mentally stimulating and above all fun.

All the centres are equipped with specially adapted cycles and Wheels for All trained leaders, who have the knowledge and confidence to work with participants so they can enjoy the benefits of cycling. The centres welcome individuals, groups and families and in Surrey are located in:

YMCA East Surrey

YMCA East Surrey offer services for children, young people and adults with disabilities or complex needs and provide specialised activities that promote independence and give families a break from caring. From badminton to yoga they run regular sport and physical activity sessions, volunteering and social activities for disabled people of all ages across Surrey – many in their state of the art inclusive centre at Princes Road in Redhill.

Dolphins Swim Club

Dolphins Swim Club provides supported swimming for those recovering from illness, or who have other physical or learning needs. All abilities are catered for and carers are welcome.

Classes run Mondays (term-time) Tuesdays (term-time) and Fridays in Tandridge Woking and Guildford respectively.

For more information email Cliff Bush or call on 07752 054370

Activity Alliance

Active Surrey have completed the Activity Alliance's LEAD (Leading Equitable and Accessible Delivery) process and are working with them to improve provision of inclusive activity in Surrey.

We offer a range of training courses for clubs/coaches and teachers in delivering inclusive sport/physical activity.

If there are courses you would like to see us offering that you can't see listed please get in touch with laura.white@surreycc.gov.uk

If you need any more information about the inclusion and disability work that we do at Active Surrey, please contact Lawrie Baker on 07791 383733 or email lawrie.baker@surreycc.gov.uk