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Everything Carers and Social Workers need to know about supporting Disabled people to get active

This is an introduction to everything you need to know if you care for a Disabled person and want to support them to get active.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Who are you?

When we talk about social care and social work, we mean carers, social workers, support workers and personal assistants, and carers and family members supporting Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.  We know what a vibrant and diverse group you are, and we want to make sure you can help anyone you support to get active in a way that works for them.

What does "getting active" mean?

Being physically active does not have to be complicated. It simply means moving our bodies more in any way we are able to. Think about the time you spend with the people you support: you may have walked or wheeled into town, do some gardening together, gone bowling, or danced around the living room. These are all examples of physical activity.

Why do I need to promote it?

Disabled people are one of the most inactive groups in the UK, and many Disabled people have experienced being excluded from taking part in physical activity.

Research shows that the majority of Disabled people want to be more active but are prevented by the barriers they face in society. Seventy-five per cent of Disabled people reported ‘not knowing what was available as the main barrier to participating in physical.

Carers, social workers, and support workers are crucial because of their roles as essential and trusted messengers to those they care for. Ultimately, if they understand more about the importance of physical activity and what they can do, they will be better placed to support a Disabled person to lead a more active life.



What do I need to know about getting active?

  • The physical benefits of getting active

    Supporting someone to get active can help to:

    • Improve sleep
    • Enhance co-ordination
    • Strengthen balance
    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Reduce risks of developing long term conditions
  • How getting active helps with mental health barriers

    Physical activity also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times. It can help:

    • Reduce stress
    • Manage anxiety
    • Improve self-esteem
    • Reduce the risk of depression




  • How it can make people feel part of a community

    Getting active doesn’t just affect someone’s body, but it can also allow them to:

    • Having fun with friends
    • Meet new people
    • Feel part of the community
    • Reduce loneliness

The basics of supporting Disabled people to get active

  • Communicating with Disabled people

    Conversations are key to supporting people to be more active. But it can be difficult to know where to start, especially when sometimes people may not be interested in physical activity or not feel like it is for them.

    You can learn more find out more information about conversation techniques in our informative guide..

  • Setting goals and making plans

    Another key step that could help inspire people to be active is by working with them to set some goals.

    If you want to know more you can read our guide about planning activity.

  • Different ways to get active

    One you feel more confident to have conversations with the people you support about getting physically active. You may be thinking about different ways you, and the person you support can get active.

    For more information please read our new guide on how to break down simple barriers.

Next Steps

We want to hear from you! 

We’d love for you to share your experiences of getting active and having fun wherever you are. Please do get in touch to share your thoughts on the latest news or what sport and physical activity mean to you.

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