Wellbeing & Fitness

Using exercise equipment if you have a physical disability

Exercising, or accessing exercise equipment can be difficult for some people with physical disabilities. If your mobility is limited, you may think that exercising isn’t a possibility, but it certainly is!

Ross Lannon, a blogger who runs A Life On Wheels, highlights how he uses gym equipment to maintain his fitness without leaving his wheelchair. 

If eating was an exercise, then I guess I would be the fittest person going…

However, that is sadly not the case and my love for food is most definitely not a sport. If I was a fully able-bodied muggle, I imagine I would be quite the Greek God (or that’s what I like to manifest in my dreams anyway!).

Believe it or not, I actually quite like exercising, and before Covid-19 was even a thing, I used to enjoy going to the gym twice a week.

Ross is sat in his wheelchair and is using a pedal bike

As we venture into the next chapter of UK lockdowns, I am determined to live a much healthier lifestyle in mind, body and soul. Someone pass me a sick bucket… I know it’s cheesy, but it’s true!

I am sharing this for my own personal reasons, but if it helps to motivate or inspire somebody else, then I thought it would be worth sharing.

Developing an exercise routine if you have a disability

The most important thing for me is routine. Especially now that I am spending more time at home, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of just waking up and watching Netflix… all damn day.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing bad about having a few lazy days / a cheeky binge-watch. However, I find that I am much more motivated in the mornings, hence why I’d rather get my exercises done first thing.

I can then spend the rest of my afternoon watching Grey’s Anatomy without feeling guilty (I’ve recently become obsessed with this show if you didn’t already know!).

What exercise equipment to use if you have a disability

I have three simple pieces of equipment at home that I like to use, with my most recent purchase being this free-standing punch bag.

I chose this item in particular because I always used to enjoy boxing at the gym. With its sturdy base, it sticks perfectly to the flooring in my hallway.

I also like the fact that it is height adjustable and its frame is thin enough for me to get my wheelchair nice and close when risen up.

Ross is exercising using a punch bag

Another simple piece of equipment that I find really fun and easy to use is my pedal bike. Hey, I can even kill two birds with one stone by watching Netflix at the same time with this one! I’ve been using this bike for a couple of years now (on and off) and I highly recommend it.

I’m not sure what the exact name for my final exercise is, but I enjoy using the equipment with a pulley mechanism on ropes in order to stretch my arms.

Due to my muscle weakness, I am unable to lift my arms above my head, so this simple piece of equipment really helps me to maintain some upper body movement.


Looking for your own exercise equipment? Get fit at home with this pedal exerciser and hand exerciser from the Disability Horizons Shop.

Exercising is possible with a disability

I am fully aware that what may work well for me may not suit somebody else – and that is totally fine!

It is often assumed that people with disabilities either have no interest in exercise – or are completely unable to do anything active – which of course is not the case.

I just hope that by sharing my routine I can help to encourage others. I know that I will never be the Greek God that I aspire to be. However, what I can do is work on my day-to-day wellbeing and over the past few weeks, I can already feel a difference.

Regardless of your ability, there are so many accessible inventions out there these days. All it takes is a little determination and some thinking outside the box.

By Ross Lannon

You can follow Ross on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, subscribe to Ross’s blog, A Life On Wheels, for more stories.

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Stephanie Castelete-Tyrrell

Content Editor for Disability Horizons, filmmaker and screenwriter at Four Wheel Drive Productions. Loves films, music, art, curry and cuddles with her pug.
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