Why Your Wheelchair Shouldn’t Limit Outdoor Exploration

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For the millions of full-time wheelchair users across the UK, the thought of navigating unfamiliar outdoor terrain can understandably cause apprehension. However, given the proven mental health benefits of connecting with nature, embracing accessible paths and sites makes prioritising outdoor exploration still essential regardless of mobility limitations. Thankfully, an increasing array of adaptive activities along with speciality gear means nearly any landscape can accommodate wheelchairs when creativity and an adventurous mindset lead the way.

Seek Out ‘Miles Without Stiles’ Routes

While able-bodied hikers take boundless trail options for granted, wheelchair adventurers understandably find typical uneven, muddy paths with barriers like kissing gates and stiles impossible to roll over. Fortunately, engineering initiatives like Natural England’s ‘Miles Without Stiles’ project open the countryside by creating wheelchair, pushchair and mobility scooter-friendly paths ubiquitously across UK national parks and green spaces by:

Removing obstructive barriers like stiles, fences, and narrow gates

Widening existing gates and gaps between fence posts

Smoothing surfaces by adding compacted stone aggregates on steep or die areas

Reducing slopes along converted paths

Check interactive maps pinpointing accessible trails at visitor centres or online when picking destinations, allowing wheelchair users to similarly revitalise rambles immersed in nature’s sights, sounds and restorative air. Pack a picnic after rolling lakesides or meandering behind majestic mountain views where fellow adventurers roam too.

Be Realistic About Your Wheelchair’s Capabilities

When venturing beyond paved pathways onto more challenging terrain like coastal trails, meadows, and forest floors, remember even rugged wheelchairs still have limitations compared to the average human’s agile manoeuvrability. Assess your chosen chair’s base construction, tyre type, gearing, battery range (for powered chairs), suspension and clearance to determine optimal handling capability so terrain choices match.

For everyday wheelchairs vulnerable to tipping or mechanical issues when rolled roughly, consider investing in a specially designed durable outdoor all-terrain chair built for bump absorption, increased obstacle clearance and narrow space navigation while retaining easy use. Test options first ensure optimal control, grip and stability empowering you to participate in beloved nature pursuits without second-guessing chair dependability.

Think About Investing In A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Among the greatest enablers of unlocking spontaneity in visiting beloved nature sites farther afield is having your reliable wheelchair-friendly vehicle eliminate public transportation limitations. While basic car adaptations like swivel front seats, handle spinners, and boot hoists offer progress, fully converted wheelchair-accessible vehicles take freedom further.

It can be tricky finding the right choice when there are so many wheelchair-accessible vehicles out there, so look for a supplier that has plenty of information as well as a good range. Allied Mobility has a fantastic selection of wheelchair-accessible vehicles for sale and a wide range of resources, not to mention expert advisers, to help you make the perfect pick.

Go For Waterproof Clothing And Shoes

Given Britain’s famously fickle weather, inadequate clothing often hinders time outdoors more than mobility devices when showers strike unexpectedly far from shelter. Whereas able-bodied people might sprint through the unpleasantness or pop up an umbrella, getting soaked while wheelchair seated proves miserable.

Arm yourself for adventures beyond paved terrain by carrying lightweight yet fully waterproof outer layers, gloves and footwear so ambient conditions never curtail your plans early. Quality alternatives like water-resistant trousers, quick dry shirts and merino wool base layers also retain warmth if caught in wind or mist when gloriously sunny blue skies reappear after any brief storm. Remaining dry means extending outdoor immersions longer.

The post Why Your Wheelchair Shouldn’t Limit Outdoor Exploration appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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