If you are in a wheelchair or take care of someone who is, you may not be aware that wheelchair swimming is possible. In fact, swimming for wheelchair users actually carries many benefits, from the social aspect of swimming with others to the exercise it also provides. There are some accessories and devices that can help make wheelchair swimming easier, as well as a few benefits you should know about before hitting the pool or the ocean.
Benefits of Swimming for Wheelchair Users
There are more than a few reasons why wheelchair swimming is beneficial. First of all, swimming is fully inclusive for everyone. You don’t need full use of all your limbs in order to be able to swim in the pool. While you may need some help and guidance, and swimming aids for seniors or for those in wheelchairs may help, the buoyancy of the water will be your biggest benefit. This also allows those who take part to have more freedom.
Swimming can also be a very social sport—whether you join a class at the local gym, or you’re spending time at the ocean with friends—swimming with others can help expand your social circle. Swimming also provides exercise. While you may not be fully mobile, you can exercise what you are able, which gives you more physical strength.
Different Aids and Helps for Pool Wheelchair Swimming
From devices such as a swimming pool wheelchair to floatation devices, there are swimming aids for disabled persons that can help make the process easier. Some of these include, but are not limited to:
- Floatation devices: Everything from kickboards to pool noodles can help keep you afloat in the water if you don’t have full mobility. You can also use vests or inflatable rings to help.
- Human guides: A human guide in the water can also help when it comes to being in a wheelchair while swimming. For those who have other disabilities, there are also swimming guides for the blind as well, to help guide you along.
- Pool wheelchair lifts and ramps: Many pools (discussed in further detail below) are already equipped with devices such as a pool wheelchair lift or ramp. There are many swimming pools with wheelchair access, to help make the process easier.
Wheelchair Swimming in the Ocean
While wheelchair swimming with a wheelchair accessible pool is a readily available option, heading to the lake or ocean can be slightly tougher when it comes to wheelchair swimming. However, more and more public beaches and town beaches are making outdoor and water recreation so much more friendly.
For example, if you go swimming at the Jersey Shore in Asbury Park, NJ, you can use one of the available floating beach wheelchairs that are designed to go into the water. This makes sure that everyone has equal access to the water. In fact, if you’re heading to a public beach or are going on vacation, it may be worthwhile to do a quick Internet search to see what kind of options there are. Helpful devices such as a sand wheelchair or beach wheelchair rental are not unheard of. However, these wheelchair swimming devices may be something you need to reserve ahead of time, so a little research is a great idea.
Swimming for Wheelchair Users and the Law
While swimming in the ocean or outdoors in nature is kind of a grey area, the 2010 Revised Standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has information about public swimming pools. In fact, all public swimming pools in the United States must have accessible entries and exits for those in wheelchairs, for wheelchair swimming. This revision extends not only to public pools but pools within hotels as well. Be sure to let a business or town know if they’re not up to code—under the law, they must make wheelchairs for swimming pools 100-percent accessible.
For more information on how to make pools and beaches more accessible for swimming for wheelchair users, or to hear about other mobility products, such as wheelchair ramps and stair lifts, contact Williams Lift Co. today. Having more mobility can certainly help you live your best life.