Keeping active and doing things you enjoy can help you cope with the big challenges Huntington’s can throw at you, whether you have the disease yourself or you’re caring for someone who has it. It can help to combat feelings of anxiety and stress, provide opportunities to make new friends, and bring some joy and fun back into your life. Some types of activity can also help to alleviate some symptoms you may be experiencing.
If you have symptoms of Huntington’s, it can make it harder to continue with hobbies or start new ones. If you find it’s becoming difficult to do things you enjoy, why not ask someone for help? For example, if you go to a running club and it’s becoming too tiring, maybe someone could give you a lift there and back so you can focus your energies while you’re there.
Swimming is a great way to be more active if movement is becoming tricky, and you may find that you can move more freely while floating. This can give you a sense of freedom and help you to unwind. The water also gives extra resistance for your body to work against; it’s especially good for keeping the muscles in your arms, shoulders, chest and back strong, as well as for developing stamina.
Local authority pools are accessible for people with a range of disabilities and some also run specialist physiotherapy sessions.
For more information about disability swimming organisations, or to find your local pool, try the Ableize website.
While it may not appeal to everyone, exercising in a gym can be a great way to keep fit and work on particular areas of your body at your own pace. You can take part in classes or small group sessions run by specially trained instructors who can give you the right support.
Some gyms also have adapted equipment in a smaller room, meaning you can exercise in a more private space.
Many gyms work with local authorities and the NHS to provide GP referral schemes for disabled people. If you meet the necessary criteria, your GP can refer you to a local gym.
Going for a walk can be a good and cheap way to get out and have some fresh air and a change of scenery.
Going fishing provides a great opportunity to be outdoors in a healthy and social environment; the British Disabled Angling Association says fishing offers a sense of achievement and possible health benefits.
Riding is challenging and fun and offers both physical and mental benefits. It can help to improve your balance, posture and coordination, and lead to more supple and relaxed muscles. Contact the Riding for the Disabled Association for more details.
Riding a bike promotes independent mobility, and improves physical and mental well-being. If you can’t use a single bicycle, you can hire or buy a tandem bike. The charity Charlotte's Tandems lends tandems free-of-charge to people in this situation.
If it’s not exercise you fancy, check what’s available near you in the form of classes or activities. Your local council should be able to advise what’s on in your area, but you can also search for local arts centres, colleges and community projects. There may be standard activities that you are happy to join, or, depending on your symptoms, you may prefer to take part in activities aimed at disabled people.
If you want to visit a venue such as a museum, a theatre or a restaurant, it’s helpful to know ahead of time how accessible it is and what kind of facilities and services might be available to help you enjoy your visit.
DisabledGo provides access information to more than 90,000 venues across the UK and Ireland. Books such as The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain can also provide inspiration. The guide is free to Blue Badge holders.
Day centres can offer the chance to learn new skills and participate in activities such as music, arts and crafts.
Different centres cater for different groups of people, including those with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health problems. Contact your local council or local carers' centre to find out about day centres and accessible events in your area.
Having Huntington’s doesn’t need to stop you from visiting places and going on holiday.
Some organisations provide holidays and short breaks for people with disabilities, either with or without their families. Your social services contact, GP or health worker can give you a list and may be able to make a referral to some of the organisations for you.
Some useful organisations:
See also our At Risk/Insurance and legal matters section for information about insurance, including travel insurance, for people with existing health conditions.
Whatever you’d like to do, we’re here to help. Contact us for information, inspiration or answers to specific questions about travel and other accessible activities.