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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Therapeutic Adapted Biking

Shareby Mary Miles, PT September 27th, 2010
This article was originally posted on the EasyStand Blog, an online community for people with disabilities, their families, clinicians, and rehab suppliers. The EasyStand Blog brings people of all abilities together to work towards a common goal - living a higher quality of life through standing. Sponsored by Altimate Medical Inc.

School has started and with that we have some cooler weather. Fall is a great time to think about getting outdoors for a fun family outing. When you plan a fall outing, consider getting some exercise while you go out to enjoy the fall leaves. A bike ride with the kids can be a wonderful way to experience the fall weather. In the northern states we are experiencing some cool days, perfect for a ride along one of the many trails we have.

There are so many options available for biking with kids and special needs. The most common bike is an adapted three wheel bike that can provide a range of options from minimal support or more control with trunk and leg support options depending on the child’s needs. There are side by side bikes that allow parents to sit next to their child and bike along with them; in this case the child does need to be closer to the size of an adult body to reach the pedals and participate in the pedaling action. There is also an option for an adapted wheelchair that fits onto the front of the adult size bike to allow parents to ride while also bringing their child along for the experience. The best way to start your journey is to connect with your local medical supply vendor to check out what options might work for your child and see if you can trial a bike for your child. Also check with your school district or therapist to see what type of bike they may be using with your child at school or might be able to recommend.

Once you have decided upon your mode of biking, take some time to plan your biking event. Maybe you want to make your bike ride a destination ride. Consider that biking is a great way to improve your child’s strength and endurance, and when incorporated into a special outing, kids don’t really think of it as exercise. Plan a ride to a nearby park, pack a snack or lunch for your child to look forward to. Increase the distance as you take more outings; bike to the library, ice cream store or other motivating destinations while continuing to build upon your child’s fitness skills. The wonderful thing about biking is that it can be a lifetime skill enjoyed by the entire family. Remember not to over-do your first bike rides or your child may fatigue and associate biking in a negative manner. I know at our house we enjoy loading up our bikes to try different trails in the area. I hope this inspires you to check out the trails in your area and get outside to enjoy some of those crisp fall days!

Thanks to Easy Stand for this great article!

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