How ‘Extreme Sports’ Can Be Adapted for Those Living with a Disability
Staying active is just as, if not more, important to those living with physical disabilities as it is to those without. Not only does staying active promote better physical health and help prevent further complications arising from one’s disability, but it also provides a boost to one’s mental health. There’s nothing like exercise and enjoyable activities to improve one’s mood.
But how do you get this physical activity? If you live with a physical disability, are you confined to swimming laps at the pool, or casually walking around the neighborhood?
Of course not. In fact, people with disabilities can participate in the excitement of “extreme” sports and activities. With the help of modern technology, service dogs, and various organizations devoted to helping the disabled stay active, you can put the thrill back into your physical fitness routine.
Your disability should not keep you off the ski slopes. Skiing is a wonderful activity that improves balance, coordination, and provides a serious amount of aerobic exercise. With adapted skiing, the disabled can experience the thrill and benefits of skiing while minimizing risk.
In fact, my best friend, who lost his leg in a car accident a few years ago, is still hitting the slopes. He is also passionate about getting others with similar issues to do so.
“Adapted skiing requires intense upper body strength, dexterity and reaction times, and can provide one of the most exhilarating experiences available on this earth. So it’s only natural that people with various bodily injuries and disabilities would want to find ways to start or to continue to enjoy this beautiful adapted sport,” notes Disabled Sports USA.
Adaptations include the mono-ski, bi-ski, and sit-ski. The mono-ski involves a chair placed atop a single ski, and uses shorter ski poles and upper body movement to direct the ski. Bi-ski involves dual skis, and is “for people who have intact lower legs but poor control of their extremities. This can include people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.”
Canoeing, Kayaking, and Rafting
Some of the most enjoyable sports out there involve paddling down a river or lake, and they are perfect “extreme” sports for those with disabilities. Most canoeing, kayaking, and rafting vessels can be upgraded to group or tandem models, which allows those with disabilities to safely participate with the help of friends and/or a guide. Even those suffering from visual impairment can safely participate in watersports due to this.
“Rock climbing is a powerful tool in building confidence and reachable goals. It demonstrates how a successful climb is the result of fundamental teamwork. Climbing is not only a fun and challenging sport, but provides tremendous health benefits by improving strength and flexibility,” notes Abilities.com.
There are plenty of adaptive technologies out there for those with disabilities who wish to get into rock climbing. These include adaptive harnesses, ascending devices, and foot and knee prosthetics.
Hunting and archery
For those looking to add some firepower to their activity list, there’s always hunting, sharpshooting, and archery. Modern technology can assist those who are unable to shoot using traditional means, and various organizations provide opportunities and support for the disabled. For example, the United Foundation For Disabled Archers has been working for over 20 years to give disabled people the opportunity to live out their bow-hunting dreams.
You’ve surely heard of wheelchair basketball and wheelchair polo – both of which are rather self-explanatory. But those in wheelchairs can kick their sporting up a notch if they wish. Did you know that there are communities devoted to things like wheelchair skateboarding and even wheelchair parasailing?