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Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!

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Health Defence Scotland

December 6, 2019

Balls and Boccia

What do you get if you combine a group of 20 people, 60 coloured balls and an empty room?

A room filled with light, laughter, activity and connections.

The power of physical activity and the benefits to our physical and mental wellbeing are well documented. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland recently worked alongside Scottish Disability Sport to deliver training in the ball game boccia to our staff and volunteers.

A cold but bright winter’s morning saw us meeting at a local leisure venue to undertake a morning’s training. There were the usual anxieties. Would there be a test? How would we remember the rules? How would we manage if we didn’t have good hand–eye coordination? Would we be able to follow the instructions if we were living with aphasia, a type of communication difficulty that can occur following a stroke? Would there be time for a tea break? Who would win?

Neil from Scottish Disability Sport soon put us at ease. Boccia became a Paralympic sport in 1984 and Scotland has an impressive array of past champions. 

What is Boccia?

Boccia can be played by all ages and be tailored to the space and ability of players. It’s an indoor game similar to bowls, but played from a seated position with soft leather balls. It’s a throwing game. We all got to practise throwing some shapes trying all the styles. It can be played individually, in pairs or in teams of 3. The aim is to throw your ball closest to the white jack.

It all got quite competitive with calliper measuring and refereeing bats. There were even rumours of a Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland boccia league.

If you’d like to learn more about boccia, here’s a great video

Get involved

Our Health Defence Scotland team now has a new Physical Activity coordinator called Stuart who is supporting people to live healthier lives. Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland is excited to support boccia games for our staff, volunteers and service users.

Fancy trying this sport? Get in touch with the Health Defence team. We can make it happen.

Still not sure? Here are a few more reasons. Boccia can improve hand–eye coordination, colour recognition, teamwork and decision making.

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing photos of your boccia games.

Looking for other ideas to get active? You can contact the Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Advice Line nurses for free, confidential advice and support.  Call 0808 801 0899, text NURSE to 66777 or email


Written by Joanna Teece- Health Defence Lead. Registered Dietitian.

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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