Leisure, sports and hobbies

    Fast facts

    The benefits of doing an activity may outweigh the risks

    Top tips

    1. 1
      You could talk to your doctor or nurse to help decide if an activity is safe enough for you
    2. 2
      If you are advised not to do an activity by your healthcare team, ask them why and if there are things you could put in place to make it possible
    3. 3
      If you think some sports activities are too risky for you, there are lots of other hobbies you could try instead
    4. 4
      Understanding your epilepsy and seizures can help you decide which activities suit you best
    5. 5
      If there’s something that you want to do, talk about how to make it as safe as possible for you

    Here are some tips for specific activities:


    Here are some precautions that may help:

    Two people swimming

    It’s a good idea to have a companion in the water with you

    Use a floatation /buoyancy aid

    If there is a lifeguard present, make them aware of your epilepsy

    If there’s no qualified lifeguard present, don’t swim deeper than the shoulder height of the companion swimming with you

    Make sure that your companion knows what to do if you have a seizure

    Practise what to do if you have a seizure, with your companion

    Don’t swim if you are feeling unwell

    Avoid overcrowded situations, as it might be difficult for others to notice if you have a seizure

    Tap or click the markers



    Keep to well-lit and traffic-free routes


    It is best not to run by rivers or canals


    If you are still having seizures, you could go with someone else


    Parkrun is a good way of running with other people


    Take your phone with you to call for help if necessary


    If you like to run alone, consider a tracker. There are tracker apps you can put on your phone

    Find your local Parkrun

    Walking and hiking

    There’s no reason why having epilepsy should stop you going walking or hiking. If you are still having seizures, it’s a good idea to go with someone who knows what to do if you have a seizure. Plan your route. Can you choose a route with access points for emergency services?

    The Ramblers Association has specific advice for people with epilepsy.

    At the gym

    If you have been seizure free for 12 months you should be able to use any piece of gym equipment. If you are still at risk of having seizures, there may be equipment that you shouldn’t use because it could put you and others at risk of injury. You could discuss this with the staff at the gym and ask for a safety assessment.

    Women playing football

    Team sports including football, rugby, cricket and netball

    There is no evidence to suggest that you should avoid team sports, as long as you follow the normal safeguards. These safeguards may include wearing the proper head protection as recommended by the official sporting body. If your epilepsy has been caused by a head injury, your doctor may advise you to avoid these types of sports.

    There’s more information and safety tips for particular sports and activities on the Epilepsy Action website.

    People at a festival

    Tips for festivals

    woman receiving a facial massage

    Beauty treatments and epilepsy

    If you like to spend your leisure time pampering yourself, here’s some info about epilepsy and different beauty treatments.

    There’s more information about beauty treatments and epilepsy on the Epilepsy Action website. This includes what to do if you’re refused treatment or treated unfairly because of your epilepsy.


    Seize your adventure is a podcast by Francesca Turaskis. There are episodes on running, hiking and doing adventure sport with epilepsy.


    The story of Katie Lee who does her local parkrun, by Vitality UK

    Stories by you

    Do you have a story to share about leisure or sports activities? Get in touch

    Trying something new

    If you don’t have many hobbies, why not try something new? If you are at college or university find out what clubs or societies there are.

    Websites like meetup.com are a way to meet new people and try new hobbies


    Skillshare has online courses to learn new skills and hobbies


    FutureLearn also online courses to learn new skills and hobbies


    Do something

    Think about the leisure activities, sports or hobbies you do. Is there anything else you could do to increase your safety?

    What you do to relax and enjoy yourself can have a big impact on your wellbeing. Are there any activities that you don’t do anymore, that you’d like to start again? Or is there anything new you’d like to try? Have you got all the information you need to make the activity safe enough?

    More info

    More info about safety when out and about on the Epilepsy Action website


    The sports and leisure information on the Epilepsy Action website has more information about particular sports

    Sports and leisure
    Updated 12 May 2020
    Review 12 May 2023
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