Spring has Sprung: Accessible Outdoor Activities for Spring
It's official, the temperatures are climbing and the grey skies of winter seem to (almost) be behind us. Spring has sprung! Here at Liberare, we love spring. It gives way to new beginnings, and also of course we just love the bright colors of spring that remind us of our fun pinks in our adaptive lingerie. Although we love talking on this blog about our favorite stylish adaptive clothing, adaptive lingerie, and adaptive bras, we also like talking about general topics that apply to the disabled community, and today we want to talk about the outdoors.
One of our favorite parts of spring is being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air, however many able-bodied people take for granted too often the ability to just walk outside and take a hike or go to a park. The outdoor activities which are wheelchair accessible or just in general disability-friendly are few and far between, and shows yet another aspect of life which poses a barrier to those with disabilities. In fact, about 560,000 people don't even leave their home because of transportation challenges. So today, we want to talk about how you can enjoy the outdoors during this beautiful season that we love so much, without having to worry about accessibility.
The first way is wheelchair hiking. Wheelchair hiking is essentially specific trails that are wheelchair accessible, which have smoother and wider paths, in addition to a decrease in incline. There are more of these paths than one would think, and actually the National Parks Services offers a free Access Pass which grants access to thousands of accessible paths. You may have heard of wheelchair hiking but think, 'How do I know where to find these trails?'. There are actually a lot of tools to use in order to find the best trails for you, but one of our favorites is a website called TrailLink. It allows you to search for trails that are customized to your needs, so get out there and get hiking!
The next way to get outside and enjoy the outdoors is paddling. Paddling is a great sport for lots of people with disabilities because it requires a minimal amount of movement of the legs, so it's great for those in wheelchairs or those with limited mobility of the legs. My mom has a spinal cord injury, and one of her favorite ways to stay active is paddling because all she has to do is use her arms to paddle! She always tells my family it makes her feel as if her disability has disappeared. So what's the best boat for this activity? Typically kayaks are best for those with disabilities, particularly for wheelchair users as they may have trouble balancing and kayaks remain fairly sturdy. However, both kayaks and canoes can be outfitted with additional outriggers to provide additional stability and comfort. However, paddling is not only for those with disabilities that impact their legs, but also those who may have limited mobility in their arms and wrists. A company we love called Creating Ability makes paddles that are designed for people who have these disabilities and they even design some equipment for amputees! The resources are definitely out there for those that are interested in accessible paddle sports.
The third and final outdoor activity we are going to talk about today is one that you may not be expecting: camping. I'm sure may of us who have gone camping could see many obstacles that might exist for people with disabilities. The first and most obvious one is that the terrain is not always friendly to wheelchair users or those who use other mobility aids such as canes. In addition, sometimes it can be hard to find outlets or adequate accessible restroom facilities, but you should never be afraid to call ahead and ask about the accommodations they have! Unfortunately, a major hole in the ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) is that there are no specific guidelines for camping, but typically those at the campgrounds are very helpful and there are lots of websites that you can use in order to figure out if they are accessible for you, one of them is Wheelchairtraveling.com!
We know this article was a little bit different than our normal content, and next week we will return to talking about all things disability sex-related, adaptive underwear and bras, and just generally all things adaptive lingerie!