These days, just about any sport is adaptive for people with limited mobility – from hitting the skate park to rock climbing, and everything in between.
Here are 10 recreational activities that wheelchair users and people with limited mobility can get out there and enjoy, ranked (approximately) from least to most adventurous.
Galleries and museums
Browsing around a gallery or museum is a stimulating activity that can be either solitary or social. Most major North American cities have easily accessible museums and galleries for you to enjoy, and they make for a great way to get out of the house in cold, rainy, or winter weather.
Most cities have public parks and open spaces, many of which feature accessible trails for wheelchair users. These are great places to spend time outdoors, have a picnic, do some bird watching, or – if you live in a location without too much artificial light – stargaze at night. Parks can also be a great spot for wheelchair users to play outdoor games like bocce ball and croquet.
Wheelchair users and people with disabilities enjoy a wider range of movement in the water, and it’s great exercise. There are many swimming aids – such as flotation devices and other accessories – available to make it easier for those with more limited movement.
Billiards and snooker are two of the most accessible sports for wheelchair users, as almost everyone can play, regardless of their physical ability. A lower vantage point because you’re sitting in a chair can actually be an advantage with billiards, since you’re already at eye level with the table. Special cues and other equipment are available to aid your game if you require them.
Take to the lanes and knock down some pins. Bowling is a fun leisure activity, and if you want to get serious, the American Wheelchair Bowling Association, which has more than 500 members throughout the continental United States, hosts an average of 10 tournaments a year across the country. Bowling equipment for wheelchair users, such as ramps and snap handle bowling balls, is available for purchase.
Many states and provinces have organizations offering team sports for wheelchair users – including basketball, rugby, and more – from the recreational to competitive level. Team sports are a great way to get to know people and to get some exercise, and being part of a team feels good for everyone. Check out sites like the Wheelchair Sports Federation and the National Wheelchair Basketball Association for more information.
Sitting in the stillness of nature, on a dock or on a boat, beverage in hand, waiting to catch your dinner. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, right? Pontoon boats can easily accommodate mobility devices, and adaptive equipment is available for a range of limitations. Sailing is also a great activity, with or without the rod.
Organizations and schools like Wheelchair Dancers and American Dance Wheels offer classes in ballroom, Latin dance, and more. You can find live classes, or, if there’s nothing in your immediate area, there are Skype and Zoom lessons. Is there nothing the internet can’t do?
It’s not for the faint of heart, or the scared of heights, but there are places wheelchair users and people with mobility issues can zipline, like this one at Gatorland in Orlando, Florida, which has the added thrill of being over waters filled with alligators.
Like ziplining, you might need to travel to find a location where someone with limited mobility can skydive – but it’s definitely doable. Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio offers tandem dives for both paraplegic and quadriplegic divers. At other locations, even more adventurous and experienced types go diving on their own, and some dive in their chairs.
If you love staying active and exploring the great outdoors, but your mobility device can't keep pace with you, why not take a look at the WHILL Model Ci2? The WHILL personal electric vehicle easily moves along rough terrain, like pebbles, wood chips and branches, and within small spaces due to its tight turning radius. The WHILL Model Ci2 provides users with a liberating, mobile, and active lifestyle.