From walking and cycling, to sailing and climbing, Wales is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities. It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you are able-bodied or disabled, there’s no time like the present to get more active.
Remember, the secret is to find an activity you really enjoy doing – and then do it on a regular basis.
Walking is one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to improve your physical fitness and lift your mood. You don’t need special equipment, just some comfortable shoes and you can start walking straight away, from your front door if you want.
Nordic walking is less tiring yet even better for you than normal walking. By walking with lightweight poles you exercise the muscles in your upper and lower body. Contact Age Cymru for more details.
Most local councils have promoted walks: visit their website or contact the countryside section for details. Visit websites like All Trails, Walking World and Strava for walk ideas, or walk sections of the Wales Coast Path or one of Wales’ three National Trails for walk ideas, or walk sections of the Wales Coast Path or one of Wales’ three National Trails.
Ramblers Cymru has groups across Wales and many University of the Third Age groups organise day and half-day walks for people of all abilities.
Disabled Ramblers UK organises around 30 rambles each year in Wales and England for people with mobility problems who use buggies, powered wheelchairs and scooters.
Cycling is increasingly popular with people of all ages and abilities, including disabled people. There are bikes to suit everybody: road, mountain, tandem, side by side, e-bikes, hand cycles, wheelchair cycles and recumbent cycles. In some areas, you can hire bikes by the hour or the day.
The National Cycle Network has over 1,200 miles of cycle paths in Wales (some of which are ideal for walking too). And if you don’t want to go out alone, you could check out Let's Ride and see who else is cycling in your area.
Many cycling clubs provide opportunities for disabled people (including those who wish to take up cycling seriously). Contact Welsh Cycling for more information.
Wild swimming in rivers, waterfalls and lakes is becoming very popular, with people of all ages; however, there are dangers involved in plunging into unknown waters. These open water safety tips will help you stay safe.
Visit Wild Swimming for some of the best outdoor places to swim in the UK.
Extra support for disabled athletes
Disability Sports Wales works with over 750 sports clubs and groups across Wales to provide outdoor (and indoor) sporting opportunities for disabled children and adults. Search for activities in your area or contact your local disability sports development officer.
The Paralympic Movement has summaries of all the competitive sports that are included in the Paralympics, with details on how to get involved.
Phab brings together children and adults of all abilities to enjoy outdoor activities and holidays together.
The popularity of parkrun, Race for Life and hundreds of other running events, from 5k charity races to marathons and ultra events, confirms that running is now very much a mainstream activity.
Whether you’d prefer track, road running, trail or cross-country, there’s no better way of getting fit outdoors and making new friends. If you are blind or visually impaired and wish to run with a guide runner, contact Disability Sports Wales.
Welsh Athletics has a list of running clubs, many of which run Couch to 5k courses for complete beginners.
Bowls can be enjoyed by all ages and played outdoors and indoors. It provides gentle activity and a chance to socialise. Clubs often hold open days to attract new members. For more information and your nearest club contact the Welsh Bowls or Welsh Women’s Bowling Association.
Playing a round of golf or two with friends is a very sociable way of getting outdoors and doing some exercise.
Wales Golf lists all courses in Wales. Most welcome visitors (sometimes days are restricted) or you can play at a municipal course.
The Welsh Disabled Golf Association organises events through the year.
The British Horse Society provides information for both experienced and learner riders, including where you can learn to ride.
Discover bridleways across the UK on the Open Spaces Society’s website.
Riding for the Disabled organises equestrian activities, e.g. riding, carriage driving, for people with disabilities.
Whether you’re interested in football, netball, cricket, rowing, basketball, tennis or any other sport, there’s likely to be a club that would welcome you.
Visit Sport Wales or contact your local council’s sports development team or disability sports development officer to find out what’s happening in your area.
Sailing and watersports
Sailing is popular with all sorts of people, including the young and able-bodied, as well as older and disabled people. Contact Welsh Sailing to find out more.
Watersports Wales has information on activities like rowing, surfing and canoeing.