has made it more difficult for everyone to get adequate exercise. This lack is
most acutely felt by people with disabilities who are at a higher risk for
complications from COVID-19 than other groups, making returning to the gym or
to group exercise more dangerous. The warm summer weather is great for people
who participate in solitary outdoor sports like handcycling and wheelchair
racing. It’s harder if your usual mode of exercise is with a group class, at
the gym, or playing a team sport. And even the solitary sports can get lonely
without connection to fellow athletes. Fortunately there are lots of ways to
stay active by engaging with an online community in whatever sport or mode of
workout you love. Connecting online can also help you develop new skills in
your sport or learn how to repair or spruce up your equipment while you have
extra time on your hands. With more people working and attending school online,
the world of sport has moved into the virtual world more than ever as well.
One of the
best ways to be encouraged to stay active is by being part of an online community
of similar athletes, whether it’s wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball, or
handcycling. Facebook is full of such groups, offering tutorials, online
training sessions via Zoom, and informative conversation about the sport. There
are groups of handcyclists and wheelchair racers who get together once a week
to practice on indoor rollers and give encouragement to each other. In a recent
search I found over a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to wheelchair racing and
about ten groups for handcycling. There are also several groups for wheelchair
basketball players and quad rugby enthusiasts. These are forums where athletes
can share their accomplishments, questions and sorrows about practicing their
sport during the pandemic.
option for wheelchair racers is taking part in virtual races. Most road races
have been canceled or moved online, and this includes wheelchair divisions. The
Falmouth Road Race, for example, has a whole host of online activities and
goodies just for wheelchair participants before and during their August 23rd
Signing up for a virtual race gives you the same motivation to reach a
training goal by a particular date as participating in an actual race would,
and it also gives athletes the chance to socialize via Zoom meetups beforehand
as well as a live feed during the race if the organizer offers that.
Participants also usually still get the t-shirt and coupons that normally come
with signing up for a race.
opportunity for athletes is to register for the Angel City Virtual Games,
happening for three one-week periods starting July 13 and ending August 30 (https://www.angelcitygames.org/). Elite athletes and coaches from 11
sports will be offering training sessions and resources for their sport,
including swimming, track and field, tennis, basketball, judo and goalball.
Each week will feature challenges that registered participants can take part in
as well as live-streamed virtual workouts. It will also feature community
building activities and virtual concerts, mimicking the actual experience of
the games as much as possible.
option is to sign up for a virtual camp geared towards your particular sport.
The University of Illinois recorded sessions from all of their virtual camps
and made them available on their website for those who weren’t able to
participate live (https://www.disability.illinois.edu/camps). They have a series of video
tutorials for each of their two sports camps, wheelchair track and wheelchair
basketball, which include advice on proper technique as well as workouts you
can do as you watch the videos. They are taught by the college coaches at
University of Illinois and include footage from games and races to help
demonstrate proper technique.
You can also
spice up your personal workout at home with advice and videos from top
athletes. Paralympic champion wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden has a great
upper body workout that anyone can try no matter your sport of choice (https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a33022496/tatyana-mcfadden-upper-body-workout/). If you’re missing your group
exercise class, there are some good resources on YouTube. The Shepherd Center
in Atlanta has an entire YouTube page of workout resources, including cardio,
core stability, and deep breathing (https://www.youtube.com/user/ShepherdCenter).
Individuals also share their own home cardio routines with minimal
equipment necessary, like this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbFvZEPTXDk).
looking to use this time at home to hone your technique or learn new skills,
there are a lot of online resources available from leaders in the sport. World-renowned
wheelchair racing athlete Daniel Romanchuk is doing how-to posts on Facebook
for wheelchair racers (https://www.facebook.com/thedanielromanchuk). His tutorials so far have covered
tuning your track compensator, steering, retreading pushrims, and how to select
the right tires.
Watching historic games is another good way to
pick up tips in team sports like wheelchair basketball and quad rugby. Finals
matches for both of these sports from both the 2012 London Olympic Games and
2016 Rio Games are available in full on YouTube so you can have a chance to
learn from the best of the best athletes from all over the world.
what sport you love or if you only workout to keep up your cardiovascular
health, there are a bounty of resources online to help you set and accomplish
your fitness goals. All signs seem to indicate that the pandemic will be
disrupting many aspects of our lives for months to come, and staying healthy is
one of the best ways to prevent disease and keep up your spirit during these
uniquely challenging times.
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The pandemic has made it more difficult for everyone to get adequate exercise. This lack is most acutely felt by people with disabilities who are at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19 than other groups, making returning to the gym or to group exercise more dangerous. The warm summer weather is great for people who participate in solitary outdoor sports like handcycling and wheelchair racing. It’s harder if your usual mode of exercise is with a group class, at the gym, or playing a team sport. And even the solitary sports can get lonely without connection to fellow athletes. Fortunately there are lots of ways to stay active by engaging with an online community in whatever sport or mode of workout you love. Connecting online can also help you develop new skills in your sport or learn how to repair or spruce up your equipment while you have extra time on your hands. With more people working and attending school online, the world of sport has moved into the virtual world more than ever as well.
Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise out there these days, and as it has grown, there has also been a movement to make yoga accessible to more people than ever before. One outgrowth of this is adaptive yoga, where instructors tailor poses and practices to the abilities of people who use wheelchairs, have limb differences, or other mobility-limiting conditions. Now that most yoga studios have been forced to close temporarily due to COVID-19, online yoga classes are proliferating and are an excellent way for people with disabilities to get started with their own yoga practice at home.
Yoga is Everywhere
Yoga is an ancient art that has been practiced for over four thousand years. It originated in India, but has now spread throughout the world with a diverse array of schools, or styles, of practice. Hatha yoga is perhaps the most well-known style of yoga in North America and combines breathing with holding the body in particular poses, called asanas. As yoga has gained in popularity and moved into the mainstream, accessible or adaptive yoga classes have also sprung up to offer the practice to people with a variety of physical limitations. There are chair-yoga and yoga-for-arthritis classes being offered at senior centers. Gentle or restorative yoga classes that can be found at many community yoga studios. Teaching yoga to people with specific conditions—including multiple sclerosis, autism, and spinal cord injuries—are even addressed in certain yoga teacher training programs. Now more than ever is a great time for people of all abilities to practice yoga.
Wheelchair racers use several main types of gloves to push with. Racers often start out in the sport with “soft gloves,” which are made of leather and rubber. These provide a wide pushing surface and are useful in developing a good pushing technique.
“Hard gloves” are made out of aquaplast or 3D-printed plastic with rubber glued to the pushing surface. They are lighter and cooler than soft gloves, but can be harder to learn pushing technique when just starting out in racing. 3D printed gloves are rapidly gaining in popularity because they are made for a wide variety of hand sizes and aquaplast can be tricky to mold, especially if you don’t have the help of a knowledgeable person to make them.
The benefits of aquaplast gloves if you have the skill and time to make them are numerous. They allow you to create a glove uniquely fitted to both your hands and your pushing style. They are also significantly cheaper than soft gloves or 3D printed gloves, which cost between $150 and $300.
An aquaplast kit only costs around $40 and comes with aquaplast beads, aquaplast sheets, and rubber sheets. You can make them as large or small as you like, depending in your pushing style. You can glue hook and loop straps if you want a more secure fit. Aquaplast is also easy to remold before you glue anything onto it, so you can start over if you find that the fit is not ideal after you mold them the first time. The kit I ordered came with 16 ounces of aquaplast pellets and two sheets of rubber. Some kits also come with sheets of aquaplast and less pellets. I had the help of my occupational therapist in making these, so we melted the pellets in a hot water bath at 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
Handcycling is a great way for wheelchair users to be physically active and see more of the world around them. Even those with a high level of paralysis or disability can learn to handcycle if they have any upper body strength. Unlike wheelchair racing, which requires you to be in a crouched or kneeling position, handcycles come in a variety of seat styles and sizes for comfort and speed.
I recently had the opportunity through the Adaptive Sports Connection in Ohio to try out all kinds of handcycles through their Discover Cycling program. They are part of the Disabled Sports USA network and the US Paralympic Clubs network, whose member groups hold events like these all over the country to help people with disabilities enjoy the sport of adaptive cycling. At the event I attended they had 6 different handcycles available for me to try out with the assistance of their volunteers and a team of physical therapists and occupational therapists with seating and adaptive sports experience. Continue reading
The pushrim is an integral part of the racing wheelchair. You can’t get anywhere without a solid pushrim and a good pair of gloves! Though the pushrim surface is sturdy rubber, it eventually wears out just as tires do. They usually need to be replaced every one or two seasons, depending on the amount of mileage you put on them and the wear and tear they receive. One way to tell that the rubber on your pushrims is wearing out is that the rubber will start to come off in small chunks. This can prevent good contact between your gloves and rims and cause slippage. Sometimes the rubber can become so worn that you will start to see the threaded surface beneath. The more worn out the surface, the harder it will be to get an efficient push stroke, increasing your effort and decreasing your speed.
There are two main types of pushrim surface: rubber and laced. The rubber is either specialized tubing or tire tread, both of which are glued to aluminum rims. Laced pushrims have rubber laces wrapped around them for additional gripping power. Purchasing replacement tubing can be expensive, and using tire tread is an easy way to recycle your used tires. I prefer to use old front tires because they have less wear than rear tires and so will last longer on your pushrims. Continue reading
Have you ever watched the athletes zooming around corners at top speed at the Paralympics or marathons and wondered if you too could be a wheelchair racing athlete? It’s easier than you think, and there are lots of organizations and local clubs available to help adaptive athletes of any age get started in the sport of wheelchair racing. This past winter I was looking for an activity that would give me a good cardio workout and that I could participate in with able-bodied friends. I settled on wheelchair racing because it would allow me to “run” with my friends and because there was a local Paralympic club in my city that gave me the resources and training to get started. Now that spring is here, I am out on bicycle paths with all the other runners, getting a great workout and enjoying being outside. Continue reading
Are you looking for a basketball wheelchair that will change your court experience? The Quickie All Court Titanium Basketball Wheelchair is the perfect choice of a wheelchair designed with the sportsman in mind. Its cool design was created from the Quickie Ti with improvements in weight and a frame that enhances absolute durability.
Features of Quickie All Court Titanium Basketball Wheelchair
Center of Gravity Adjustment
The patented center of mass adjustments provides a center of gravity adjustment that requires no change in fork size, caster size, or fork hole location. This gives you the freedom to optimize your wheelchair’s efficiency and maneuverability without going through the hassle of adding extra parts.
It makes sense to have the Quickie All Court come as light as possible owing to the fact that its main task is to hit the court. The low weight gives you a wheelchair that you can count on for tough competitive performances and also titanium gives your wheelchair a longer life since it is scratch and corrosion resistant. Continue reading
How do you make a choice of the best wheelchair in a sea of wheelchairs? This can be an uphill task if you ask me; Sportaid, however, has the right wheelchair for your every need. The Top End Schulte 7000 Series BB is among the many high-quality wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories that are available at Sportaid. The Top End is an incredible wheelchair with amazing features, keep reading to find out why the Top End Schulte is a perfect wheelchair choice.
Features of the Top End Schulte 7000 Series BB
Anti-tip 5th Wheel for Stability
The Top End Schulte is a sport wheelchair; it is therefore expected to give ultimate performance. Stability is a must for such a wheelchair that is the reason why it is built with an anti-tip 5th wheel for enhanced stability.
Absolute Rigidity and Strength
Also, the strength of the Schulte 7000 has not been left unattended to. The Invacare Top End’s sophisticated heat treating and powder coating process has been used to craft a wheelchair that is strong enough to take a beating and still stand out strong. Continue reading
The Colours Xtreme is that amazing wheelchair that unifies your body with the wheelchair giving you every support you need to give the best performance on the court. To excel in any sport you need a wheelchair that is highly responsive the features of Colours Xtreme Pro-Tennis give it a winning edge in the sporting arena. If you are a sportsman you will agree with me that you will need to rely on the rigid body, less flex and agile movements to up your game the colours Xtreme-Pro Tennis gives you all that.
Features of the Colours Xtreme-Pro Tennis
- Front and rear seat height adjustment, adjustability in your center of gravity or being able to fine-tune your wheelchair, this is a three-wheeler that will perfectly fit your bill.
- To complete the concept of being in unison with your wheelchair, the Xtreme through its rear tube offers you full adjustability.
- The vertical and horizontal adjustability of the foot plate allows you to set your foot in the most comfortable position and with your feet properly set you can take on any competition with all your energy.
- A fully rotational wheelie bar is an accessory that will give your wheelchair a fourth wheel to boost performance; the Xtreme is the first wheelchair to have it installed on it.