Tag Archives: paralympics

Guest post: Fun Wheelchair Sports to try out this Autumn

With the night’s drawing in it might seem tempting to lessen your exercise and hibernate ready for winter. It can be especially difficult to find sports to get involved in if you have to factor in a disability too, but with the Paralympics garnering so much praise in 2012 it shouldn’t be surprising that clubs, groups and sporting organisations are coming to the fore, with established and newly created options both providing great autumn activities.

In this post we list a handful of the activities available to wheelchair users to keep the spirit of exercise and wellbeing going well into winter.

Tennis & Table Tennis

With Britons in the top ten for each category (Mens, Womens, Boy, Girl etc.) it is little wonder that wheelchair tennis is becoming so popular. Whether you want to play competitively or just get your child involved in an extra-curricular activity, this is a fun sport which both seasoned and new competitors can play. Also, as an indoor alternative there is table tennis, you can play as frantically or methodically as you want with no stray balls to chase in poor weather.


Another sport, which now has some high profile names attached after the Paralympic games, is swimming. Whatever the weather you can always get access to your local leisure centre – some even offer dedicated slots for disability swims – contact them directly to get more information and a pool timetable. This is a great way of getting a cardio workout in a safe and warm environment which can involve the whole family.


While it’s true that bowls conjures up images of older people it can be actually played by anyone. There are several organisations and competitions if you want to get fired up on the green, but with indoor bowls available too this can be a relaxing and fun sport to keep you active out of the cold. No matter what your experience level there are clubs and locations across the UK which offer you the chance to get involved.


Wheelchair archery might not be your first thought when it comes to sports which those with a disability can get involved in, but it can actually provide some key skills. Archery requires great arm strength, but what’s more, you will develop precision and focus for your aim. This makes archery ideal for anyone who wants to develop greater control over their upper body strength. For teenagers, the advent of the Hunger Games films will no doubt fuel interest for archery classes.


If you somehow missed the Paralympic games last year then you might think cycling isn’t a feasible idea for someone with a disability or for someone wheelchair bound. Nothing could be further from the truth, there are a raft of opportunities for people to get involved in cycling. Hand cycles are fun and easy to use, putting the pedalling system in better suited position, but these aren’t the only kind of bikes available, specially adapted and created designs are available from such groups as Get Cycling Disability.

So while the weather may not be perfect, you can still get a good daily dose of exercise, mobility and independence with a number of different sports. Improvements are being made with every passing year to allow wheelchair users to get involved in fun sport activities.


About the author:

Brian has many years experience working with the stairlifts, wheelchairs and mobility scooters specialist team at Stechford Mobility.


Adapted swimming for paraplegics and quadriplegics

Big sparkling pools that greet you as you roll up….aching to get in, but can’t? These wheelers refuse to just sit there and admire. From throwing themselves in to using a cool new pool lift, here’s how to get in the pool and enjoy adapted swimming even if you can‘t walk!

I’ve never seen a C6 quad do what Vincent does when it comes to adapted swimming. At 48, he could show on a few paras a thing or two. In his video, produced by a production company from Google (his employer), Vincent shows off his sleek lap pool in his yard, and how he’s able to use it independently; with no lift!

He’s able to transfer himself to the ground, then he throws himself into the pool. Looks pretty crazy, but he has it all under control. The moment he lands in the pool, he swims right away so he doesn’t sink, and holy moly is this guy a great swimmer (even when going against the waves). C6 quad swimming is totally possible.

And elizabethk, one of our members, is a C6-7 quad and 2008 Paralympic swimmer who can swim like a fish. Check her out here (link) doing the backstroke at the Paralympics. She placed 5th and 7th in the world. Go girl!

Speaking of kick butt lady swimmers, make sure to check out Mia of the Push Girls, who has just gotten back into swimming (and it was all aired on TV!). She struggled pretty hard with not being able to use her legs when swimming (still is), but she isn’t letting it stop her. Watch her swim here

And if you can’t get into the pool independently and hate pool lifts with a fiery passion, you’ll LOVE this new pool lift created for the 2012 Paralympics called the Pool Pod. You roll right onto it (in a chair you don’t mind getting wet) and it stealthily lowers you into the water. Did I mention you can use this completely on your own? So awesome. This is a much more dignified way to get your pool on.

And wondering what do you do once you get IN the pool even if you can’t swim? Why you float like a rock star of course, just like these goofy quads, chilling in a friend’s pool. Floaties, life jackets, and more floaties. Oh man how did us SCIers ever go swimming without them?

You know…..it can be weird not feeling the water, and not being able to move like you used to, but the pool offers so many awesome ways to feel UN-paralyzed. I can guarantee all of those icky feelings will get trumped once you get in.

Do you swim regularly?? How do you get in the pool? How did you get interested in adapted swimming?

Watch the videos!

Vincent, a C6 quad, gets in/out of his lap pool (and swims!)

SPINALpedia member elizabethk swims the backstroke at the Beijing Paralympics

Mia of Push Girls goes adapted swimming

Pool Pod pool lift, direct from the UK

Quadriplegics in the pool for adapted swimming