New research published today by Activity Alliance shows that 47% of disabled people fear that taking part in exercise could result in their benefits being stopped.

While four in five disabled people would like to be more active, almost half of the responders said that they feared appearing “too independent,” which could result in them losing access to their benefits. 65% of disabled people also said that they rely on their benefits in order to be active – whether that means affording travel, attending classes, or gaining access to specialist equipment.

Disabled people are the least active group in society, with figures showing they are twice as likely to be inactive, but 83% of disabled people have said that they would like to be more active, citing exercise’s power to maintain and improve mental and physical health, and enable them to manage impairments and pain.

Andy Dalby-Welsh, deputy chief executive of Activity Alliance, said: “Disabled people deserve the same right to be active as everybody else, no matter whether they want to make use of their local gym or become an elite athlete. But the stark reality is that disabled people are still twice as likely as non-disabled people to be inactive. This needs to change.

“That is why this rigorous, evidenced report has such an important role to play in changing the reality of disability, inclusion and sport. We need to understand the challenges and barriers that disabled people face on a daily basis.

“The numbers within the report, although shocking, give us a starting point for change. We want to work with and across government to make active lives for disabled people possible. We would urge policymakers within national and local Government to take on board the calls for action within this report and the spirit with which it was written. Let’s enable more disabled people to lead happier and healthier lives.”

Image: Flickr/The USO

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