Activity examples

Would you like to become fitter and healthier, but don’t know where to start? Regardless if you use a manual or power wheelchair or walk, there’s no shortage of options—from home-based and indoor activities and sports, to activities and sports you can enjoy in the great outdoors. We believe the best approach is to find a mix of activities that work out different body areas, and blend aerobic and strength conditioning. Above all, make sure you choose activities you enjoy—and that are safe for you.

The Activity Ramp: Start at the bottom and gradually work your way up

Different types of activities and sport require increasing levels of commitment and dedication as you work your way up the ramp. Climb to your ideal level at a speed that works for you.

Everyday Active

These activities are meant to be flexible, relatively easy, and a good starting point for people just embarking on their fitness journey. They are also ideal for experienced exercisers who aren’t able to do their usual workout routine because of a lack of time. Many of these activities can be done at home, or close to home.

Aerobic activities

  • Walk or wheel to work or school
  • During bad weather, walk or wheel at the mall, an indoor track, or an arena
  • Park further away from your destination and walk or wheel the rest of the way (remember: be safe!)
  • Take the dog out for a walk or roll
  • Tackle some household activities, such as vacuum cleaning or washing the windows
  • Do some gardening and yard work
  • Play with your kids

Strengthening activities

  • Exercise with a resistance band while watching TV, working on the computer, or reading. Click here for some examples.
  • Do some householding activities, such as carrying out heavy bags of trash
  • Do some gardening and yard work
  • Do calf raises at the sink while doing dishes



Accessible Activities

These activities are typically higher in intensity and may bring greater fitness and health benefits than everyday active activities. Some can be done solo, while others require making a commitment to a team or organization.

Aerobic activities

  • Walk or wheel for fun and endurance
  • Cycle using a handcycle or stationary bike
  • Work out with an arm ergometer (arm bike)
  • Swim (with assistance if needed)
  • Do aerobic activities at home using exercise videos
  • Do standing frame exercises
  • Play recreational sports (basketball, curling, wheelchair rugby, tennis)
  • Dance

Strengthening activities

  • Build strength with resistance bands
  • Lift weights. Don’t have any? Use cans, bottles, or other household items
  • Use cable pulleys
  • Practice yoga, Pilates or Tai Chi


Adapted sports

Do you love competing? If so, consider trying some organized sports. It’s truly amazing how many sports, both individual and team, have been adapted for play by people with SCI.

Adapted sports that can be low cost

  • table tennis
  • swimming
  • athletics*
  • badminton
  • basketball*
  • boccia
  • curling
  • bowling
  • dance
  • boxing
  • martial arts
  • softball
  • pickleball
  • tennis*
  • sitting volleyball

*can require a specialty chair

Sports activities that typically require specialized equipment**

** Please note that many clubs provide free opportunities to try the sport along with any needed specialized equipment, and many clubs provide or rent specialized equipment for no or low cost.