You can modify sports and exercise to be more accessible. This might mean doing the activity in a different position – like seated yoga – or in a different environment, like in the pool. Or it might mean making changes to the rules to allow everyone to participate. Learn more about the rules for adapted sports from organizations like Move United or the International Paralympic Committee.
Below are some simple tools to help make sports open to all bodies.
What kinds of adaptive sports equipment are there?
Balls are available in oversized, slow-moving, or grip styles to meet your needs. There are also all kinds of balls – including baseballs, volleyballs, basketballs, and soccer balls – that have bells built into them for auditory feedback. This can help players with low vision keep track of the ball! Buy these products from places like FlagHouse.
Companies like Active Hands and Gripeeze make special gloves with velcro loops or steel hooks that will grip items for you. These can be used for things like weightlifting or can be clipped to wheelchair resistance bands. Weighted belts or wrist / ankle cuffs may be another good alternative to handheld weights.
Ropes along the length of the track or handles held by a partner can keep blind or low-vision runners safely on the course. Learn more about running with a sighted guide at United in Stride.
Recumbent (reclined) bicycles, handcycles, and tandem bikes (for riding with a partner) may all be accessible fitness options. If muscle strength or fatigue is a concern, consider an electric bike. For riders who need more trunk support or have difficulty with balance, you can find adaptive tricycles from companies like Freedom Concepts and Rifton.
There are so many exercise and fitness apps available. Some features that might be especially helpful for individuals with disabilities include visual supports and video modeling (as seen in the Exercise Buddy app).