Living with a disability is often a frustrating experience, especially if your disability makes your lifestyle far more sedentary than you’d ideally like it to be. While your able bodied counterparts may have opportunities to vent the quotidian frustrations and annoyances of the day by going for a run, pumping some iron or punching the Hell out of a bag, some with disabilities which profoundly affect their mobility are not afforded this simple luxury. While there are an increasing number of disability friendly gyms popping up here and there, even if you do not have access to one of these wheelchair accessible paradises doesn’t mean that all avenues of exercise are lost to you.
Those confined to wheelchairs may not realise that there are a range of bikes on the market just for them but it behoves them to give these bad boys a try. A more inclusive approach to cycling not only benefits society as a whole, but it can have some very specific benefits for those with disabilities who feel the yearning for the great outdoors and (relatively) fast paced physical exertion.
It’s a great workout
Whether you’re able to peddle with your legs but would benefit from the stability of more wheels or whether you peddle with your hands, there’s no denying that hopping on your bike is a great cardiovascular workout. It’s a great way to start the day off on a positive note or let off steam after a busy day at work. People with disabilities are particularly susceptible to low mood and depression and the hit of adrenaline, endorphins and dopamine that come with a brisk cardiovascular workout can go a long way towards elevating your mood and maintaining a positive and optimistic outlook.
It’s a great way to access the natural world
Depending on the nature of your disability, you may find it difficult to get out of the house and interact with the natural world and other human beings. Not only can it become arduous and / or painful, it can be very difficult to find the reason and motivation to leave the cosy confines of the inner sanctum.
Cycling gives us that opportunity and motivation to get out and enjoy the mood boosting benefits of being out in the sun enjoying proximity to trees and plants. Just be sure to ride safely and give traffic a wide berth. While a bicycle accident lawyer can help you to seek justice if you should become involved in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, prevention is always the best cure. The majority of people, however, will treat you with courtesy and respect on the road which brings us to…
Every trip you take will be an opportunity to educate people
Because those with disabilities are so injuriously either misrepresented or under represented in our popular culture, able bodied people so often seem surprised by the breadth of things that those with disabilities can do. While it’s easy to be perplexed by this phenomenon, it offers us a unique opportunity to educate people wherever we go and whatever we do. Every time someone sees you out on your bike, loving life unencumbered by your disability you will have given them the opportunity to rethink some of their preconceptions.
And that’s quite a gift!
This is a collaborative post.