Why Join an Able-Bodied Group?
As well as the possibility of finding new friends with similar interests, joining an able-bodied club can give you the confidence to show that you are able to keep up with your able-bodied peers. You may be able to inspire others in your community and keep motivated to continue with your new sport. All of the clubs I now attend are able-bodied simply because there are more clubs available and more opportunities to try different sports.
If you're in London, https://www.getactivelondon.co... may be a great place for you to take a look at some sports clubs near you. Take a look at University clubs as they are generally open to non-Uni members and the memberships are often cheaper. Also take a look at ASICS London Facebook page to take advantage of all that the run club and bootcamps can offer.
Why Join an Adaptive Club?
Able-bodied clubs are not always right for everyone and especially for para-specific sports such as wheelchair rugby, as you need access to the right equipment. The Parasport website is a great resource to find your local para club and they also include a list of able-bodied clubs that have adaptive add-on sessions. Keep an eye out on their website for open days, which are great to discover a new sport - I went to one in 2015 and then discovered Powerlifting, which then lead to Athletics, to throwing, to the sports that I do now!
I found being with an adaptive club really increased my confidence and I was able to connect with other adaptive individuals. As an individual strongly considering amputation, it was fantastic to open up about our disabilities and achieve a common goal.
I would highly recommend an adaptive club - take a look and join up. Also keep an eye out for various charities who allow opportunities for amputees, such as LimbPower.
My Personal Sport Discovery Story
I was never a sporty child as such. After having my chronic pain condition from the age of 9, I was never interested in any sports that required running however I would happily throw a ball around. I started Judo at a very young age and went through the battle of stopping the sport, while I came to terms with my disability. At the pinnacle of my disability, I was very overweight with no drive to change until my amputation became a possibility. Despite sounding cheesy, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel and I was motivated to get fit for my amputation.
I attended a Parasport event where I discovered Para Powerlifting - this is also where I met my first amputee. I continued to increase my strength with Powerlifting and I then went on to discover wheelchair racing, which was extremely difficult with my foot and then discovered the throwing sports.
Once I had my amputation and started running, I then transferred towards Obstacle Course Racing and I returned to Judo. Being a Frontrunner has significantly changed how I view running and I now proudly consider myself a runner. Having said that, I am always looking to discover new sports and I'm always searching for more opportunities and challenges.
Which Sports Have I Tried as an Amputee?
- Judo - pretty tough on one leg, but check out my previous blog hereto find out more.
- Obstacle Course Racing - for non-competitive OCRs, it's a great opportunity to get involved. I'm always on the search for new adaptive athletes, which I explore more here.
- Throwing - I have tried both seated and ambulant throwing and they each come with their various challenges and rewards.
- Athletics - wheelchair racing was very difficult with my foot however I would love to have the time to explore this sport more.
- Ice skating - turns out, ice skating isn't as bad as I would have thought. It was very difficult to fit my prosthetic leg into the skate however after asking for the next size up, it was a lot easier. Due to my prosthetic set-up, the skate was at a difficult angle however with the right set-up, it is a great sport to try.
- Skiing - after skiing as a child, I tried it just a few weeks after my initial amputation (on just the one leg). I had such a great time and I would love to try it on two legs - skiing is next on the cards to explore further.
- Kayaking - If you're a lower-limb amputee, kayaking is a great sport that doesn't divide those with a disability.
- Rock Climbing - strangely, I found it easier to do rock climbing without a prosthetic on. Perhaps less weight to pull up? I need to try it with my Blade XT as I believe it will be a lot easier.
- Mountaineering - you may not believe it but going up is actually a lot easier than going down. Get yourself a good pair of walking poles and give it a go.
- Swimming - does swimming with one leg mean you just go round in circles? Try it for yourself.
- Cycling & Hand-cycling - have you ever tried hand-cycling? If you have, you'll appreciate how difficult it is. If you'd like to get involved in cycling, check out a book called 'Stumps and Cranks,' which explores every aspect of cycling as an amputee.
- Tennis - I have tried it both in and out of a wheelchair - fantastic fun!
Essentially, there are thousands of sports out there for you - just takes the first step to give them a go.
As always, reach out if you'd like help with your journey towards a more active lifestyle - #imoveme
Athlete from Basingstoke
Age group: 24