Not everyone who uses a wheelchair is a natural born athlete. Tiffiny Carlson, a quadriplegic, says she is often asked about her involvement in wheelchair sports. While she is not involved in any team sports, like wheelchair rugby, she does believe in keeping your body moving. Tiffiny gives the following suggestions for staying active as a wheelchair user.
“But, this doesn't mean you get to be exempt from moving your body. This becomes especially important after becoming paralyzed. Whatever you can still move, move it as much as possible so you don't lose it.”
Adaptive yoga can accommodate any injury level. Tiffiny states there are adaptive yoga programs all over the United States. However, if you do not live near a studio one can still participate from virtually anywhere. Tiffiny suggests searching for yoga videos made by wheelchair users on YouTube.
Tiffiny says, “Incorporating yoga into your life every day can help you breathe better, move more fluidly, and feel more alive.”
“Dancing in a wheelchair may seem like an oxymoron to the newly-injured, but once you understand the concept, you’ll realize that movement is what dance is all about,” says Tiffiny. She continues by saying dance is achieving a purposeful artistic movement any which way you can.
Tiffiny suggests going to a local dance studio and inquiring about personal instruction. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone!
Tiffiny says that many rehabs are now teaching newly injured patients about elevated gardening. You can build an elevated gardening bed at any size and level. Tiffiny recommends searching for videos on YouTube on how to build one.
She states, “These beds allow you to pull right up and be at waist level of the garden. This is much better than transferring out of your chair and getting onto the ground. Going into your garden each day to check on your vegetables and flowers or to sit and think can be very healing for those with new or long-term injuries.”
Tiffiny states hiking has become more popular for wheelchair users over the years because of increased accessibility at national parks. There are many wheelchair accessible trails all over the United States, all you need to do is show up and explore!
“Indoor skydiving is one of the most exciting new adrenaline rush opportunities available for wheelchair users in a safe environment,” says Tiffiny. She suggests checking out iFly which has many locations across the country. Some locations have a weekly event called “All Abilities Night” where people with disabilities get to skydive at a discounted rate.
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