A diagnosis of MS doesn’t have to mean giving up on the activities that you love. Many sports and hobbies are now accessible through adaptations or modifications. Some of the most popular include:
Hippotherapy (horseback riding)
Experience the benefits of horseback riding even if you have limited mobility. Hippotherapy, or therapeutic horseback riding programs, are available throughout the country and often incorporate strategies developed by a physical therapist or occupational therapist to address functional limitations. Whether you enroll in an official therapeutic program or are just looking for venues in your community with increased access for horseback riding, the American Hippotherapy Association and the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship can provide information and resources.
Adaptive skiing enables skiers with disabilities to participate in alpine skiing by using special equipment. Adaptive skiing lessons are available at many ski resorts, and through the Adaptive Sports Center, for children and adults with a wide range of disabilities.
Play Golf America, sponsored by The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA), includes helpful information and resources, including an online search tool to locate PGA professionals with experience providing instruction to people living with disabilities.
By modifying or adapting a bicycle to suit an individual rider, almost anyone can enjoy cycling. There are endless adaptions, including tandem bikes, handcycles, and recumbent bikes. For more information visit Disabled Sports USA, consult with your physical therapist, and visit your neighborhood bike shop.
Wheelchair basketball follows the same rules as NCAA basketball with a couple of exceptions. Players are given classifications according to the level of their disability. Anyone with a disability that prevents them for playing able-bodied basketball is eligible to play. For more information about wheelchair basketball visit the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Wheelchair basketball programs may be offered at your neighborhood recreation center or through your community’s rehabilitation hospital.
Aqua exercise, including swimming, lets people with MS move in ways that their disability might not otherwise allow, while providing the much-needed benefits of exercise. Call your neighborhood aquatic center or YMCA to find out if the temperature of the pool is less than 85 degrees and if it’s equipped with a lift.
Don’t give up on hobbies you love. Sometimes you just need to discover a new way of doing things. For example, if you love to garden but find that the heat or kneeling pose a challenge, change how you garden. Garden in the morning when it’s cooler out. Sit down to garden with a chair or bench nearby to help you stand when needed. Everyday tools and simple strategies can help many people continue to do the things they love so they can live their best life.