Wheelchair sports have been proven to show a great many benefits. They can help improve overall health and reduce the amount and length of hospital stays through fewer health complications.
Like most exercise, it’s great for keeping cardio fitness high as well as great stress reduction. The social aspect, physical as well as mental health rewards and the focus on autonomy and striving to success help to create a great case for being involved in wheelchair sports, large and small.
As someone once said “having wheels attached to your butt is a pretty cool thing.”
What’s even cooler than the coolness of wheelchair action is the great things people do with them.
At Briometrix, we spend a lot of time with elite sports people, wheelchair adventurers and serious bad asses. So today, we thought we’d give a hat tip to some of our favourite wheelchair sports and take time out to celebrate some hair-curling adventurers.
Ready? Strap yourself in and let’s get into the bad ass wheelchair sports. They’re not for the faint of heart.
Crash tackle into wheelchair rugby
Some of our all time favourite Brio Pilots have been wheelchair rugby players. Not only are we dealing with some of the coolest Paralympians in the whole damn circuit, it’s their can-do attitude that makes for a great time.
If you are not familiar with the concept of wheelchair rugby, you should totally check it out. The aim of the game is to score tries with a volley ball that can be carried, dribbled, or passed but never kicked. Bouncing the ball every ten seconds is mandatory and played in 8 minute quarters.
Wheelchair rugby is a highly physical, taxing and often rough and tumble sport. It’s gruelling fast-paced, action orientated and fantastic to watch and compete in. It’s also the reason why any wheelchair rugby players are always welcome as Brio Pilots.
Nothing is impossible and all things are tested to the outer limits. It’s about ‘metal on metal’ and full contact. How’s that for bad ass?
Wheelchair rugby is ideal for: building strong triceps and upper body strength, back strengthening, confidence, collaboration and team building, healthy releases of aggression and competitive spirit and stress reduction.
Jump into some wheelchair freestyle action
Part skateboarding, part parkour, part BMX and all bad ass is wheelchair freestyle work. Here, it’s you solo up against the built environment and skateboard ramps. Jumps, grinds and flipping it to the extreme are all part of the joy with wheelchair freestyle work.
It’s also a fantastic spectator sport. That’s why wheelie big bad ass Aaron Fotheringham is a huge drawcard at the Nitro Circus circuit. This guy is seriously insane with his back flips, jumps, 180 circles and hair raising antics. Oh, and he’s a seriously bad ass role model for kids in wheelchairs because he spends a lot of time trying to demonstrate how to use wheelchairs in new and interesting ways. But parents, you may wish to look away.
Like any street based sport, wheelchair freestyle takes a hell of a lot of practise to get to elite level. You have to be willing to put up with a healthy amount of stacks. But unlike many other wheelchair sports, your playground is anywhere there is a lip, a place to grind, a skate park or obstacle to wheel over and leap from.
Wheelchair freestyle is ideal for: someone that prefers to pit themselves against obstacles instead of team members, adrenalin lovers looking for a big pay off, developing problem solving skills and upper body strength. Check out more on the WC Motocross Facebook page.
Make mine a marathon
If you want to think gruelling, hardcore burning of energy and single minded determination, you can’t go past a marathon. All marathons are about stretched muscle, stamina, resilience and finding the next level. Wheelchair marathons and wheelchair racing are the next level epitome of that.
Louise Sauvage and Madison De Rosario live and breathe wheelchair racing and wheelchair marathons. When we were planning Briometrix, we knew that we had to get these two elite wheelchair sports people involved in our Brio Pilot testing phases to make sure what we were building cut the mustard. Our theory is if you can keep up with these two, you can keep up with just about anyone!
Is it endurance or speed you crave? Are you testing your will against the clock or ready to put caution to the wind as you wheel your way to high speed records?
Whatever you seek, wheelchair racing may be just the ticket.
Travelling at speeds of up to 30 kilometres an hour on a 40km track with the camber of standard roads and all the bumps and scrapes that road circuits can bring is some tough work. The great thing is many domestic and international level marathons now have a wheelchair racing component so you can test your mettle in a variety of cities worldwide.
The sprints involved in wheelchair racing on a racetrack with a roaring crowd can be another form of adrenalin and are harder to come by, but still worthwhile.
Wheelchair racing and wheelchair marathon are ideal for: improves stamina and muscle tone, improves heart health and can reduce blood pressure, increases focuses, releases mood improving endorphins and satiates competitive desires.
Triumphing over injury
If ever there was someone or something to develop a wheelie big crush over, it’d be The Triumph Foundation. Here, the focus is on adaptive recreation, wheelchair sports and recovery from acquired injury through the healing power of exercise and sport.
Instead of covering one particular wheelchair sporting idea, the Triumph Foundation looks at all kinds of sports in relation to adapting them for the specifics of disability. This is why you can find everything from shooting through to basketball, handcyling, skiing and athletics. There’s even a seriously bad ass festival of sports. In fact, many future elite wheelchair sports people and Paralympians begin their journey after a spinal cord injury with the help of the Triumph Foundation and similar organisations.
The Triumph Foundation helps the newly injured with a specific focus on spinal cord injury. The idea is to help with the physical and emotional support in these crucial early stages by highlighting community and opportunity. The programs include care baskets, essential equipment, support groups, rehab and autonomy in a new landscape.
Gotta love a bad ass program that combines the emotional with the practical!
The Triumph Foundation is ideal for: regaining a sense of self and practical assistance with adjusting to an SCI, discovering and participating in adaptive wheelchair sports, uncovering abilities, developing confidence and community through exercise and interests.
Being a bad ass, wheelchair sports style
Exercise a huge part of reducing pain, susceptibility to additional complications, boosting mood and general health. Wheelchair sports also give the ability to challenge yourself while boosting mood, reducing stress, smashing goals and building your overall fitness.
From moving from a newly acquired injury through to looking for new and interesting ways to raise the roof, test the limits and grow your confidence, wheelchair sports is great.