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Recreation for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

Find out more about what accessible recreational activities are available following a spinal cord injury

In the realm of rehabilitation and recovery after a spinal cord injury (SCI), the importance of recreation cannot be overstated. Engaging in recreational activities tailored to the unique needs and abilities of individuals with spinal cord injuries can bring not only physical benefits but also psychological and social ones. It’s a path to a fuller life after an SCI. In this article, we will explore the significance of recreation for people with spinal cord injuries, delve into suitable activities, and also discuss what activities should be avoided to ensure safety and well-being.

The Importance of Recreation for People with Spinal Cord Injuries

Imagine waking up one day and finding your life dramatically altered, your mobility restricted, and your sense of independence compromised due to a spinal cord injury. It’s a challenging reality that countless individuals around the world face. However, this life-changing event doesn’t mean the end of engaging in recreational activities. In fact, it highlights the need for them even more.

Physical and Psychological Benefits

Recreation tailored for people with spinal cord injuries offers a plethora of physical benefits. Engaging in appropriate activities can help maintain and improve muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Regular exercise can also contribute to better bladder and bowel function, aiding in the management of some of the common complications associated with SCI.

On a psychological level, recreation provides an invaluable avenue for stress relief, improving mental health, and enhancing self-esteem. It fosters a sense of normalcy and accomplishment, essential elements in the journey towards recovery and adaptation to a new way of life.

Social Integration and Quality of Life

Recreation is not merely about individual well-being; it’s also about fostering connections and social integration. For people with spinal cord injuries, this can be especially vital. Engaging in recreational activities allows individuals to connect with others facing similar challenges and build a support network. It encourages a sense of belonging and combats feelings of isolation that can often accompany an SCI.

Moreover, participating in recreational pursuits can lead to increased community involvement and a sense of purpose. This, in turn, contributes to an improved overall quality of life.

What Activities Should You Do After a Spinal Cord Injury?

When considering recreational activities for individuals with spinal cord injuries, it’s crucial to prioritise safety and adaptability. Activities should be chosen based on an individual’s specific injury level, functional abilities, and personal interests. Here are some recreation options that have proven beneficial for people with SCI:

Adaptive Sports

Adaptive sports have gained popularity worldwide for individuals with spinal cord injuries. These sports have been modified to accommodate various levels of mobility and ability. Wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, and adaptive cycling are just a few examples of sports that allow individuals with SCI to stay active and competitive.

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy, such as swimming or water aerobics, provides a low-impact and buoyant environment, reducing the strain on joints and muscles. The water’s buoyancy supports the body, making it easier to perform exercises and improve cardiovascular fitness. It’s also an excellent way to improve flexibility and coordination.

Wheelchair Dance

Dance is an expressive art form that transcends physical limitations. Wheelchair dance allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to enjoy the rhythm and movement of dance while seated in their wheelchairs. It’s a wonderful way to enhance balance, flexibility, and overall fitness while having fun.

Adaptive Yoga

Yoga offers a holistic approach to fitness and well-being. Adaptive yoga classes are specifically designed for individuals with mobility limitations, making use of props and modified poses to ensure safety and comfort. It promotes relaxation, reduces muscle spasms, and enhances flexibility.


Handcycling is a popular recreational activity for those with lower extremity paralysis. It involves using hand-operated gears to propel a tricycle-like bike forward. Handcycling can be done on various terrains, from city streets to scenic trails, allowing individuals to explore the outdoors and maintain cardiovascular health.

Wheelchair Hiking

For nature enthusiasts, wheelchair hiking is an excellent choice. Many national parks and hiking trails have become more accessible, with paved pathways and designated routes for individuals with mobility devices. Hiking provides a sense of adventure and a connection to nature, all while improving physical fitness.

Adaptive Sailing

Sailing is an inclusive recreational activity that can be adapted for individuals with spinal cord injuries. Specially designed sailboats and equipment make it possible for people with limited mobility to experience the joy of sailing. It’s a serene and liberating way to connect with the water and nature.

Wheelchair Rugby

Wheelchair rugby, also known as murderball, is a fast-paced and physically demanding sport. It’s a full-contact team sport played in wheelchairs, where athletes attempt to carry a ball across the opposing team’s goal line. This sport is not only physically challenging but also fosters camaraderie among players.

Accessible Fishing

Fishing is a relaxing and enjoyable pastime that can be adapted for individuals with SCI. Accessible fishing platforms and adaptive equipment make it possible for wheelchair users to cast their lines and reel in catches independently.

Adaptive Fitness Classes

Adaptive fitness classes, often offered at rehabilitation centres or gyms, cater to individuals with spinal cord injuries. These classes include strength training, cardio workouts, and flexibility exercises, all adapted to individual needs and abilities.

While these recreational activities offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals and experienced instructors to ensure safety and suitability for your specific condition. Additionally, obtaining the necessary adaptive equipment and assistive devices may be required to fully engage in these activities.

What Should You Avoid with a Spinal Cord Injury?

While recreational activities can greatly enhance the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries, there are certain activities that should be approached with caution or avoided altogether to prevent injury or complications. Here are some activities to be wary of:

High-Impact Sports

High-impact sports like rugby, football, and martial arts pose a significant risk of injury for individuals with SCI due to their physical intensity and contact nature. Engaging in such sports can lead to fractures, dislocations, or exacerbation of existing injuries.

Extreme Activities

Activities such as skydiving, rock climbing, and bungee jumping are inherently risky for individuals with spinal cord injuries. These extreme activities involve substantial physical exertion and a high likelihood of accidents, making them unsuitable for most people with SCI.

Activities with Sharp Objects

Participating in activities involving sharp objects, such as knife throwing or archery, can be dangerous for individuals with limited mobility or sensation. Accidents involving sharp objects can result in severe injuries, so it’s advisable to avoid such pursuits.

Unsupervised Water Activities

Water activities, such as swimming and boating, can be enjoyable and therapeutic for individuals with SCI. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and ensure adequate supervision when engaging in water-based recreation to prevent accidents and drowning incidents.


Pushing one’s physical limits without proper guidance or training can lead to overexertion and potential complications. It’s crucial to listen to your body and avoid overexertion during any physical activity, as it can exacerbate existing health issues.

Activities with Risk of Falling

Activities that involve a high risk of falling, such as horseback riding or skateboarding, can be hazardous for individuals with SCI. Falls can result in additional injuries or complications, so it’s advisable to avoid these activities unless they can be adapted to minimise the risk.

Unmodified Motor Sports

Motor sports like motorcycle racing or off-roading can be extremely dangerous for individuals with SCI. Engaging in such activities without proper modifications and safety measures can lead to severe injuries.

Making a Serious Injury Claim with National Claims

At National Claims, we understand the challenges that individuals with spinal cord injuries face, and we are committed to helping them navigate the legal aspects of their situation. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, you may be entitled to compensation.

Our team of experienced legal professionals specialises in serious injury claims, including those related to spinal cord injuries. We will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve to cover medical expenses, ongoing care, and the impact on your quality of life.

To initiate a serious injury claim with National Claims, follow these steps:


Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will review the details of your injury and assess its potential for a successful claim.

Case Evaluation

Our legal team will conduct a thorough evaluation of your case, gathering evidence and expert opinions to support your claim.

Support and Guidance

Throughout the claims process, National Claims will provide you with the support and guidance you need to navigate the complexities of a serious injury claim.

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In conclusion, recreation plays a pivotal role in the lives of people with spinal cord injuries. It offers not only physical and psychological benefits but also social integration and an enhanced quality of life. The key is to choose activities that align with one’s abilities and interests while avoiding potentially risky pursuits. By embracing recreation tailored to their unique needs, individuals with SCI can embark on a fulfilling journey of recovery and personal growth.

Spinal cord injuries may present challenges, but they also open doors to new opportunities for recreation and self-discovery. Through adaptive sports, aquatic therapy, wheelchair dance, and a myriad of other activities, individuals with SCI can reclaim their passion for life and thrive in the face of adversity. So, let’s celebrate the resilience and determination of these individuals as they continue to inspire us with their unwavering spirit in the world of recreation.

At National Claims, we are dedicated to supporting individuals with spinal cord injuries not only in their pursuit of justice but also in their journey toward a fulfilling and active life. We understand that serious injury claims can be complex, and we are here to guide you every step of the way. Your well-being and future are our top priorities, and we will tirelessly advocate for your rights and compensation. Contact us today to take the first step toward securing the justice and support you deserve.

Contact us to get started on your claim and to find out how we deal with serious injuries at National Claims.

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