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Options for your recreational or lightweight wheelchair

by Shannon Lee

Being in a wheelchair doesn't mean you can't enjoy the things you used to do. Choosing a lightweight wheelchair or recreational accessories can open up new horizons.

There was a time when being in a wheelchair meant giving up all the things you enjoyed so much before you became unable to move freely on your own. Going to the beach became a hassle, because the wheels of your wheelchair would sink into the sand, and perhaps even have trouble on the boardwalks. Being active on a basketball court, golf course, or even the football field were considered impossible.

But with new advances in wheelchair technology, lightweight wheelchairs and recreational accessories can allow wheelchair users to do what they want to do--and do it well.

Lightweight Wheelchairs

If you've ever seen the lightning-fast wheelchairs on a marathon course, you probably understand the basics of a lightweight wheelchair. These wheelchairs are designed with an aerodynamic and lightweight frame, the better to allow a user to reach top speeds by pushing the wheelchair with their hands. A lightweight frame with a tiny seat, slim wheels, and plenty of graphite can become a speed demon on a flat course.

The biggest determining factor in speed in a lightweight wheelchair is upper body strength--the faster and stronger the user can move their arms, the better potential for fast movement. Lightweight wheelchairs are used for marathons, polo matches, and even swimming events.

Recreational Wheelchairs

Wheelchairs that can take you ""off road"" are popular among those who love the great outdoors. Recreational wheelchairs with wide, balloon-style wheels are perfect for venturing onto a sandy beach, because the pneumatic tires allow for plenty of surface area to help keep the wheelchair upright. Wheelchairs with wheels that move independently of each other are great for moving over rough terrain, such as a wooded trail or rocky shore.

Wheelchair accessories are available to customize recreational wheelchairs. For instance, a camouflage or ""hunter orange"" frame can make a wheelchair more suitable for those who enjoy hunting. Wheelchairs with ""cages"" or guards on the front can help you play more physical sports, such as wheelchair football or rugby. If there is an accessory you want for your wheelchair, there is a provider who can build it for you.

Transporting Your Recreational Wheelchair

You have a wheelchair that can handle off-road activities, but your van can't get to the camping site? No problem! Small trailers designed to carry wheelchairs into hard-to-access areas are available through specialty dealers.

These transport trailers also work great for carrying ""regular"" wheelchairs that can't be modified for recreational use. For instance, that heavy electric wheelchair might not be able to go onto the sandy beach, but when placed on a wheelchair dolly with pneumatic balloon wheels, it can.

Being in a wheelchair doesn't have to limit your dreams! If you want to hit the beach, go swimming in your local pool, or go on a hunting expedition, you can. Recreational and lightweight wheelchairs can be your key to making it happen.