The EFDS website has featured a blog post every Friday throughout 2017 – sharing the experiences of disabled people, and those who support disabled people, on their journey to being more active. This week they take a look back at some of the 2017 blogs.

Tia Ruel England boccia player

Tia Ruel – Boccia

In January, 19-year-old Tia shared her passion for boccia and encouraged everyone to not be afraid of trying something new.

“When I am playing boccia it’s the one thing that I am in control of. It’s my passion and pretty much the only thing I do! It gives me confidence, independence, it helps me focus and get a routine going and it also helps me to find and make friends.

“Don’t be afraid to try sport because it could change your life. Even if you don’t see yourself as a typical ‘athlete’ it doesn’t matter. You will surprise yourself as sport brings out things in you that you didn’t realise were there.”

Read Tia’s blog

Fiona Jarvis taking part in the wheelchair dancing classFiona Jarvis – Latin and ballroom dance

In March, Fiona spoke of her experience of attending an inclusive Latin and ballroom dance class with Step Change Studios.

“I took part in an inclusive wheelchair Latin/ballroom dance class, with a non-disabled partner. We both found it to be great exercise and I felt I’d achieved something I thought I’d lost years ago – the ability to dance.

“Trying to spin without feeling giddy was a challenge at first but I’ve since practised with my own personal trainer and I’ve overcome this. Dancing is now part of my training sessions.”

Read Fiona’s blog

Chris Bright, founder of the Diabetes Football CommunityChris Bright – Football

In June, Chris Bright from Worcestershire shared how playing football helps him to manage his condition.

“I’m a footballer. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of eight but I never let it hold me back from playing! I love being around the camaraderie and “banter” of the dressing room. The feeling of winning and scoring is one you can’t match easily.

“Exercise helps with control of my condition. It increases insulin sensitivity and is linked to improved long-term control. I use my condition as motivation to achieve things and defy the odds as a person with a chronic illness.”

Read Chris’s blog

Leigh Bland pulling truck in strongman competitionLeigh Bland – Strongman

In November, EFDS supported “Movember” to raise awareness of men’s health and featured blogs from active disabled men. Strongman, Leigh Bland shared how lifting heavy weights helps him to manage his mental health.

“The thing I enjoy most about strongman is the support from my fellow competitors and the crowd. When I train and compete, it’s almost like any pain I have goes away and it helps me to manage my depression and anxiety. I feel happier and more confident. When I get a new personal best on a lift, I’m on a high all day long!”

Read Leigh’s blog

New year, new stories

This year, the EFDS want to continue sharing your experiences of being active. EFDS is looking for disabled people involved in sport and exercise at all levels, to feature as bloggers on their website throughout 2018. You might be just getting started and discovering the benefits of exercise, perhaps you’re a regular at the local gym or sports club, or even an aspiring athlete who is pushing the boundaries and striving for success.

If you’re interested in writing a blog about your experiences of sport and exercise, please email news@efds.co.uk or call 0161 228 2868.