Sport and Recreation

Sport and Recreation

Active participation in sport and recreation is important for everyone. Research has shown that when people are busy and active they are far less likely to have seizures.


Taking part in sporting activities may benefit the person with epilepsy. Obviously the type and frequency of your seizures will influence what activities you choose to participate in. All sporting activities are regularly enjoyed by people with epilepsy. Some involve a greater risk than others. With appropriate safety precautions these risks can be minimised. The choice of what to participate in is up to you. Here are some guidelines to think about.

Water Sports

Water sports are fun and a great way to be with other people. Make sure the people you are with know that you have epilepsy and how they can help if you have a seizure. Always wear a life jacket. Scuba diving is not recommended.


Swimming is an excellent recreational activity. Normal safety precautions should be taken in case you have a seizure in the water. Always swim with a person who is able to help you.

Team and Contact Sports

Many people with epilepsy enjoy team sports like netball, rugby, hockey and soccer. Some choose to wear head protection. Unless your epilepsy has been caused by a serious head injury or you have a specific medical condition that could be aggravated by body contact sports, your epilepsy should not be affected. Boxing is not recommended.


Cycling is a fun activity and good exercise. Normal precautions should be taken when cycling including wearing a helmet. Cycling in heavy traffic is hazardous for anyone, avoid it if you have frequent seizures.

Horse Riding

Riding helmets should be worn by everyone who takes up riding. It is advisable to ride with others and not to choose the most tricky horse in the stable.


Riding for the Disabled provides special facilities for the person with epilepsy who has other disabilities.


It is advisable to fish with a companion who knows what to do should you have a seizure. It is a good idea to wear a life jacket or light flotation device.


You may find the physical and psychological aspects of yoga beneficial. The controlled deep breathing associated with the more common forms of yoga should not present any problems.


If a particular sport or leisure activity interests you then give it a go. You may like to consider these factors when making your choice.

  • The type and frequency of your seizures
  • When they occur – are there any trigger factors you can avoid?
  • Any effect your medication may have
  • The risks of the activity to be undertaken, ways of minimising them and the risks you are prepared to take.
  • The need for a companion who knows what to do.

Having considered all the issues and made your choices, you will find sport and recreational activities can provide you with many enjoyable challenges.