Adaptive sports to keep you active during spring and summer months

The arrival of warm weather means it is time to put those winter clothes in the shed and get outside for some sunshine and physical activity. In a previous post, we shared adaptive sports for the winter. Changing seasons present opportunities to participate in warm-weather sports. 

Tandem cycling, swimming, golf and beep baseball are four popular activities for the blind. Outlook’s Enrichment Recreational Programs understands that a simple adaptation of equipment or instruction is required for participation in physical activities or adaptive sports.

Since we are in the midst of a pandemic, Outlook encourages people with visual impairments to consider these activities for the blind once it is safe and possible to participate.

Tandem cycling

Tandem cycling is social and enjoyable while providing good outdoor exercise. Adding to that great workout, tandem cycling requires teamwork. This strengthens friendships and understanding between riders.  

For successful tandem cycling, find a good quality tandem bike and sighted captain that shares your goals and objectives.  Effective communication is critical to enjoy tandem cycling.

Talking to your captain ensures that both of you understand speed, endurance, coasting and riding style. Join the Outlook Tandem Bike Club or talk to others who cycle for tips and advice. 

Golfing

Nice, sunny days are perfect for a round of golf. Sighted coaches assist blind golfers. The coach gives the golfer course description, correct yardages, and helps with club selection and proper alignment. The golfers compete with other golfers within their sight classification. The sight classifications include: B-1 no vision, B-2 little usable vision and B-3 better usable vision. 

Outlook Enrichment’s Tee It Up Fore Sight fundraiser will be on June 4 and will benefit Outlook Enrichment Programs. To ensure the safety of everyone involved and follow social distancing guidelines, each golfer will schedule a tee time during registration. Register by May 25.

Swimming

Swimming is also an excellent physical activity.  Swimming can be done alone or in a group setting. As a workout, a swimmer can do swim exercises, water aerobics or lap swimming. For lap swimming, you can count the number of strokes to cover one lap; slowing down as you get close to the end of your lane.

Use a lane rope for orientation, and stay in your lane as you swim. Lap swimming can be adapted by using lane markers. These can be brightly colored flotation devices or ropes with flotation markers. 

Place a brightly colored marker or an audio device at the end of the lane to help with turns and orientation. Now, if you enjoy swimming in open water such as the sea, lake or river, it is critical to swim with a sighted companion for safety.  Swim in the direction of the waves and listen for sounds that direct you to land.

Beep baseball

One of America’s favorite pastimes is baseball. Visually impaired players enjoy this beloved activity with some simple modifications. Created in the mid-sixties,  Beep baseball is played with an oversized beeping softball and two buzzing bases, first and third. 

All six team players wear blindfolds to equalize their vision. The pitcher, who is sighted, is on the same team as the batter. The batter hits the ball and runs to the base which buzzes and tags it. If he gets there before a fielder picks up the ball, he scores a run. 

If not, he is out. Three outs, six innings, and the game is over. This physical, yet fun game requires using a combination of strength, skill and auditory senses to focus on the beeping ball and buzzing bases.

Playing adaptive sports makes staying physically fit fun and enjoyable. Adding some simple modifications opens the opportunity of full participation and engagement in sports. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or a novice, the goal is to get physical exercise and stay energized during these warm spring and summer months.  

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