Looking to get out and about and partake in wheelchair sports this season? Luckily, a broad range of sports have been adapted for wheelchair users, both for the beginner and expert alike. Here is a list of the best sports captivating the attention of wheelchair users worldwide:
Nothing shouts team sports more than basketball, and this holds true for wheelchair users too. Imagine gliding around on the slick, highly polished, wooden floors and going for the gusto as you make the coveted 3-point shot with nothing but net. The crowd cheers, the fans wave, and you’re the star of the show!
Okay, maybe that was all a fantasy I’ve long held in my head, but this is one of the sports for wheelchair users that is guaranteed to please. After all, the adapted version is just as competitive, if not more, than the regular game. Yes, the adaptations allow the ball to be held for a moment longer, but only through two rotations of the wheels, but that’s a fun challenge in itself. The ability to pivot on a dime is a unique facet of the game. This often results in popping wheelies, which is also the term coined for wheelchair basketball players.
If you’re always looking for a sport that allows you to hang out with friends, this may be it. Tennis is not only a favorite sport for wheelchair users, but you can also invite your able-bodied friends, making it quite inclusive. Tennis requires practice as you need to learn how to coordinate the movements of your chair with one hand, while you grip the racket in your other hand. For those with limited arm or hand strength, using athletic tape or a gripping device to secure the racket to their forearm and hand may be required.
The only rule change for wheelchair users is the ball can bounce twice, if needed. Otherwise, it’s game on! Once you become more adept at swiveling in your chair on a dime, you very well might find yourself able to hit balls that your able-bodied friends miss. Victory is always sweet, but whether ahead or behind, spending time with great friends on the courts is always a win-win!
When you think of marathons, you probably think of intense training for months on end. While this can be the case, there are also many events geared towards beginners. Marathons and wheelchair races bring together people from all different walks of life. You’ll be able to meet veterans, people with disabilities similar to yours, and people who have many different needs than you do. Although your backgrounds and experiences may vary, you will all have one thing in common: living life to its fullest. This is what makes marathons one of the best sports for wheelchair users.
Some marathons require training, especially arm strengtheners like rolling up hills and setting weekly distance targets. Others are more similar to walk-a-thons/roll-a-thons. All you have to do is show up, bring some water, strap on a number, and get ready to roll. No matter how inexperienced or experienced you are, there is a marathon for you!
Rock climbing is an indoor or outdoor activity that provides many benefits beyond the adrenaline rush. You may not have considered rock climbing an adaptive sport, but it’s actually becoming more adaptable than ever, especially with so many indoor rock climbing venues popping up. Not only does rock climbing provide physical benefits, it’s also mentally stimulating, as you have to think through your next move and plan your path two or three steps ahead of time.
For lower limb amputees, you can use your every-day prosthesis or go without it by wearing a sleeve. For upper limb amputees, special hand grips are available to make it easier to grab the rock holds. For folks with spinal cord injuries or loss of trunk stability, you can use the standard harness along with a chest harness. This keeps you in an upright position while navigating the rock wall or rock face. An ascending device is another cool adaptive tool for paralyzed rock climbers, as it uses a pulley system to reduce the arm strength needed to scale the summit. As with any sport, to enjoy the experience to its fullest, a little preparation goes a long way. Select a climb that is designed for your fitness level, learn the lingo ahead of time, wear comfortable clothes, and most of all, have fun!
While fishing may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of sports for wheelchair users, it is actually a very good option for those with special mobility needs. Not only can you do it alone while basking in the tranquility of nature, you can also do it in social settings with family and friends. Plus, if you are so inclined, there are even super competitive tournaments. Many recreation areas offer ramps to the water and even special platforms designed for wheelchair users. You can also purchase a rod holder for your wheelchair if you wish, which attaches and detaches easily. For someone with limited hand movement, there are even electric reels.
When you’re ready to leave the stress of the daily grind behind, fishing is one of the very best wheelchair sports. Not only is it relaxing, but wait until you hook the big one – you’ll find yourself quickly addicted to the thrill of the catch!
When you first start seeking sports for wheelchair users, you may be a bit anxious about your ability to participate in some of the activities. However, not only are they readily available, but also very enjoyable! Whether you’re looking for the camaraderie of team sports or want to go it alone, there are a number of options to keep you active and entertained. Get ready to hit the courts, experience the adrenaline rush, and venture into the great outdoors.
To make sure you can enjoy these awesome sports, in addition to the many other accessible wheelchair sports available, visit Scootaround online to check out their mobility equipment for rent. They have manual chairs designed specifically for transport, standard chairs, and heavier weight capacity chairs. They also carry scooters, power wheelchairs, and even 4-wheel drive power chairs. Their large selection ensures a wheelchair for everyone, whether you enjoy the competition of team sports, the rush of climbing that ever-higher rock wall, or the solitude of throwing a line into your favorite fishing hole.
Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer.
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