Adaptive fitness

5 hacks to swim easier, safer and more independently as a paraplegic.

5 hacks to swim easier, safer and more independently as a paraplegic.

This seemed impossible the first time I tried.

Transferring from a wheelchair to the ground, into a pool and then back out of the pool and into the wheelchair again as a paraplegic seemed impossible when I was first injured.

These 5 hacks make my life easier, safer, and more independent as a wheelchair user, for swimming and day-to-day life. Now it's easy and safe to take a refreshing dip on my own.

1. Wheelchair to floor transfer (and back).

This is more about technique than strength, although both help. It unlocks so much independence and can get you out of a bind if you fall out of your wheelchair. 

2. Air cushion to protect skin.

When you no longer use your muscles they atrophy so I sit on skin and bone. It's pretty easy to damage the skin integrity which could lead to months on bed rest lying on my stomach waiting for it to heal.

I use a compact air cushion called a Roho Adaptor Pad that is easy to travel with and is a must-have for me. I use it on planes, in rental cars and in the sauna too. 

3. Pool-to-edge transfer.

This is upper body strength dependent and timing and using your body's natural buoyancy helps. I also use this technique when getting back onto a kayak or wave-ski while in the water. It helps if you're slim, more on that later.

Nice pool right? Thanks for the stay Sargood On Collaroy

4. Remove wheelchair cushion to lower transfer height.

Removing my wheelchair cushion before transferring back onto the wheelchair saves about 100mm in height which helps, especially if I'm tired after swimming.

5. LapStacker to secure all your things.

To make carrying my towel, cushion and any other things to and from the pool I use a LapStacker



🎁 Bonus hack.

Being overweight as a wheelchair user makes transfers more difficult. I stay lean by intermittent fasting and limiting refined sugars and alcohol in my diet. Learn more about Unleashing the power of intermittent fasting - 7 benefits for wheelchair users.

Did you find this useful?

❤️ Please share this with your colleagues, clients, or wheelchair friends or leave a comment below with your thoughts.

Note: I am a T10 complete paraplegic and acknowledge that not everyone has the function I do. Do your best with what you’ve got and continually look to improve your skills.

Happy Adaptdefying.

- Mike

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