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 Zephyr was created with meticulous customers in mind, they do not need anyone to tell them how to sit and function in their wheelchair since they know exactly what they want. The Colours Zephyr is one of the lightest wheelchairs in the market today it’s ultra-lightweight makes it unique and a perfect choice for any sports fan. Sportaid offers you this wonderful sport wheelchair that has amazing features which I will share next.
Features of Colours Zephyr Basketball Wheelchair
- The wheelchair is light with a frame weighing only 14.5lbs; hence it is portable and doesn’t have excess baggage that will hold you back when moving.
- Also, the Colours Zephyr is a strong wheelchair; the chair is made with the heat treatment unique technique which gives the wheelchair the strong sturdy feature.
- Besides, being strong and light the Colours Zephyr wheelchair comes with a dozen custom options, you are the creator of this wheelchair since you get to design and build it.
Many wheelchair users need the support of a sling at one time. The Invacare Divided Leg Sling with head support available at Sportaid has all the support you need. This is a well made and it is easy to use the sling that puts your comfort first and while at it ensuring your safety. The features of this sling are incredible and it will change you and your caregiver’s way of life.
Features of the Invacare Divided Leg Sling with Head Support
- The sling provides full body and neck support, this is essential for your comfort especially when you have to use it for long hours.
- It is made of a strong fabric that is fully padded for a soft and fully supported surface.
- Besides, the sling has a brushed lining that prevents sliding and further protects your skin.
- The sling has a polyester fabric that makes it ideal for use in both wet and dry environments.
- Cleaning the sling is super easy because it is washable.
- The sling has a large opening and allows for toileting.
- The sling is a little stiff because it has to be strong to give you adequate support.