When the weather is cold and the snow starts to fall, we are often tempted to stay indoors with a hot beverage and a roaring fireplace. Despite the many barriers to mobility that are caused by snow and ice, there are also a number of outdoor activities to help get us moving and enjoy the winter weather. With the right equipment, these activities are accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Whether you walk or wheel, the list below includes ideas and resources for getting outdoors and staying active this winter.
Skiing: Alpine or Nordic, Sitting or Standing
Skiing is a classic winter activity that can be performed downhill (i.e., Alpine) or cross-country (i.e., Nordic). While we traditionally think of skiing as a ‘stand up’ sport, an adapted piece of equipment known as a sit ski can be used by individuals with spinal cord injuries or lower body impairments. Canadian Adaptive Snowsports (CADS) offers resources for learning about adaptive equipment at http://adaptivesnowsports.ca.
Ice skating is another traditional activity that can be performed on man-made rinks or frozen ponds, canals, and lakes. For those of us who can walk, a pair of skates is the only equipment needed to enjoy this winter pastime. However, sledge (or sled) skates – consisting of a bucket seat mounted on a frame with standard skate blades – can be used by individuals with spinal cord injuries or lower body impairments in order to participate. Hockey Canada provides detailed information and links to help you get started at http://hockeycanada.ca.
Work and Play
Every fresh snowfall comes with opportunities to get physically active – whether it’s through work (e.g., shovelling the driveway) or play (e.g., snow angels, snowball fights). Wheelchair users can do some off-roading in snowy conditions by installing winter tires or installing a plow on the front of the chair in place of a shovel. Want to learn more? Check out: http://www.pantsupeasy.com/four-activities-wheelchair-users-can-look-forward-to-in-the-winter/
By Veronica Allan, Kingston Gets Active Ambassador
Photo courtesy of SkateCanada.ca