The Edmonton Journal recently reported on Canadian para-nordic athlete Ana Lucas-Osma, a disabled woman who has been able to participate in competitive skiing through the use of a “sit ski,” which is a chair-like attachment for cross-country skis. Originally from Spain, Lucas-Osma suffered a spinal cord injury at just 18 that left her without the use of her legs or lower abdominal region. She remained active, however, participating in wheelchair basketball and after coming to Canada having completed a PhD in neuroscience, becoming an avid cross-country skier with the sit ski.
Thanks in part to the exciting work that has been done with the Paralympics and the developments in increasingly sophisticated prosthetics, athletes like Lucas-Osma now have greater options when it comes to staying fit and active. Exercise can help people with disabilities and injuries stay healthy, and can even help slow the onset or exacerbation of certain conditions. Another huge plus is that involvement in an activity like an organized sport can also be great in building confidence and self-esteem, and can help prevent feelings of isolation and loss.
Whether an individual is facing a serious injury or disability that indicates a long-term or permanent loss of mobility or a problem that will only temporarily limit mobility, finding ways to stay fit and active benefits most people. Investigate options like prosthetics or sporting equipment made especially for people with disabilities. You’d be surprised what’s out there! In cases where a certain kind of equipment doesn’t exist, there are specialists and designers who can work with you to come up with customized prosthetics. Organizations like Canada Sport for Life (CS4L) may be able to help you with finding resources, coaches, and more in your area.
If you’re facing a temporary change in your physical abilities (for example, if you’re recovering from a minimally invasive spine surgery), focus on parts of your body that you are able to exercise safely. Work with your doctor, who may recommend that you consult a specialist in sports medicine or physical therapy who can help you identify appropriate exercises.
Has chronic pain been keeping you from enjoying an active lifestyle? It’s time to get back your life. The specialists at the Spine Institute Northwest treat Canadian patients from across the provinces with cutting-edge treatment options including laser spine surgery and regenerative therapies. Call 888-712-0318 to talk to one of our patient advocates and learn more about what we do.