Leisure and hobby
What do you think of when you hear the word hobbies? Swimming, skiing, camping, knitting, working in the garden, watching a film or reading a book? Hobbies are very individual. They reflect who we are and what we consider to be important.
Social activities are an important part of our life. The idea of going out in public in a wheelchair can be intimidating at first. Part of your rehabilitation involves getting used to your new situation. However, it gets easier every time.
There are various aspects to hobbies, such as getting to meet other people, acquiring new skills, improving your health and facing up to a challenge and boosting your self-confidence. Playing a boardgame like “Monopoly” or making a car out of Lego can not only reduce stress, it also encourages manual dexterity and perseverance. Adapted aids allow you to resume lots of hobbies, even though that may seem impossible after suffering a spinal cord injury. Dreaming is expressly permitted!
How do I find out what is and what isn’t possible, and what sort of aids are available?
During your stay at the clinic, you will have the chance to learn a variety of sports and creative hobbies, and to discover the things you enjoy and which suit you best. Group events outside the rehabilitation centre will provide you with ideas for leisure activities which you can do in your wheelchair, and teach you where potential obstacles might lie and how to overcome them.
Have a chat with other wheelchair users or with people from wheelchair organisations and disability sports organisations; the internet is also a good source, of course. Don’t be discouraged if you are (still) unable to do a certain activity. Over time, you will know which functions and skills you can rely on and what you still have to work on.
There are many hobbies and activities that you can practise in a wheelchair, including some which would have been inconceivable until quite recently. Disabled people seeking to carry out very particular leisure activities became excited and are able to overcome any obstacle. Nowadays, for example, there are people affected who are able to take up kite surfing again or downhill mountain biking. That said, it does not have to be an extreme sport for everyone who needs the use of very specific aids.
Sports like skiing or handbiking are common. There is now a wide range of different sports equipment available to them, which vary in appearance depending on the level of paralysis. Ski bobs come as mono or bi-skis, and handbikes with or without electric support, as a recumbent bike or as an add-on to a normal wheelchair. However, there are also special aids available for non-sports activities such as parlour games, e. g. card holders.
Hobbies are an important part of our life. Sometimes you have to be imaginative or flexible. Don’t be frightened to try out something new. You will have a great experience. Don’t forget to invite your friends and to involve them. As a well-known brand of sportswear puts it, Just do it!