This ‘blog’ has been contributed by Barry Horne who is the Chief Executive of English Federation of Disability Sport.

“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. And we’re here to help! Our purpose is: making active lives possible by enabling organisations to support individual disabled people to be active and stay active for life.

Every week of the year, we produce a ‘blog’ and 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.

Here are three people who can share their own positive experience and hopefully inspire more people to get involved on the day (National Fitness Day .. 27th September 2017).

Wendy Hall from Dudley 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, kettle bells to LBT (legs, bums & tums) – I’ve even tried insanity (once was enough!).

When I join a fitness class, I feel like everyone else. Just perhaps not so fast. I like to give the instructor the 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 injuries can make things challenging at times, but being active helps me to engage my body and mind. Both physical and cognitive exercise support me with everyday functions like walking, balancing and stretching’.

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

‘I started attending the Abbey Leisure Centre situated on Whitehall 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 I 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 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 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 constantly being asked to move, whether you are disabled or not!’

Finally, hear from Chandi who likes 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.

EFDS is supporting National Fitness Day and would like to hear from those organisations running inclusive and accessible events. Or contact EDFS to access a wealth of resorces and training.

National Fitness Day on the 27th September is a day dedicated to all things physical activities, celebrating the joys of being active with an opportunity to try FREE activities across the UK”.

What will you do to be active on the 27th September 2017?

Our thanks and acknowledgements to Barry Horne, Chief Executive of EFDS

English Federation of Disability Sport

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