How mobility can help with your mental health
From exploring the countryside to inclusive hobbies, our latest blog will guide you with tips and ideas on how you can get outdoors and enjoy going further.
Being able to enjoy the great outdoors is so important. To breathe fresh air and feel the sun on your face is always a tonic. Going to the coast, playing sports, or simply visiting family and friends, they’re all rewarding for your mental health. As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week in May, we’re giving you a few suggestions on how to get out with confidence and enjoy better wellbeing.
When choosing any mobility product that will get you outdoors, it’s always important to initially think about where you plan to go. If you intend to stay on pavements and paths, you may only need a lightweight, smaller powerchair or scooter. If you need to travel on the roads, contact us about which road-legal products are available for you. If you’re going off-road, then extra suspension, power and range are a must. Enjoying your time outdoors is all about peace of mind. Without the right kit, you might find the mental health tonic you’re looking for is replaced by stress and inconvenience, as you won’t be able to go where you want. As we all know, getting stuck or running out of battery power is not good news wherever you are! However, don’t worry assistive technology has come a long way these days with a vast range of powerchairs that have been specifically designed for rocky roads and steeper slopes.
Our Magic Mobility 360 gives you the best of both worlds – superb indoor manoeuvrability and superior off-road performance. Whereas the front-wheel-drive Optimus 2 RS powerchair gives you even more capabilities and comfort in the more rustic wilds. The highly popular ultra-light, all-terrain Trekinetic powerchair is one of the most advanced powered wheelchairs on the market. With the capability and adaptability to support children and adults, and be transportable in an average car, the Trekinetic manual and powerchair options mean you can take your all-terrain capability on the road with you.
Try a new sport or hobby
A route to stronger mental health can be through playing sporting or engaging in a hobby. Whatever gives you a mental rest from the usual stresses and strains of daily life must be a good thing, right? Having a focus on something else that is rewarding or provides exercise makes everyone feel better. There are many organisations out there to help signpost you towards inclusive activities such as these listed on the Scope website. From accessible horse riding to para-athletics, there are many opportunities for casual commitments through to individuals seeking competitions, of all ages and abilities. Having the right product to participate from an emotional and practical point of view can be a big advantage.
With an active rigid wheelchair, for example, such as a Quickie Nitrum or Motion Composites Veloce Elite Carbon, you’ll benefit from the most energy-efficient self-propulsion. If you’re looking for the flexibility to add power when you need it, then our Benoit Systemes Light Drive 2.1 Mini is a leading choice. Or you could choose a powered handbike from our Rehasense range; you’re then good to go with whatever outdoor pursuit you prefer.
So why not give something new a go? There’s more activity ideas here.
Accessible trails everywhere
Since the start of the pandemic, the mental health benefits of getting into the countryside have become even more pronounced. This is why so many outdoor spaces have accelerated their accessibility programmes which are fantastic to see, including many of the National Parks. The Miles without Stiles initiatives across the UK, such as at the Lake District National Park, provide easy access routes for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, and visually impaired individuals.
Barrier-free walks that are powerchair and scooter friendly mean you can go and experience many remote and beautiful places you might have thought impossible to reach. Alongside national schemes, there are also local charities such as Access the Dales and The Disabled Ramblers who are committed to helping everyone enjoy the great outdoors.
A selection of useful links:
- 12 greatest accessible trails across the UK
- The National Trust’s top accessible walks
- Easy access trails
- Accessible countryside
- Britain’s best beaches with disabled access
Boosting your confidence
Most of the time everyone needs to feel self-assured when seeking better mental health. Without confidence or belief, you may struggle to get out and find that all-important place or activity. Powerchair functionality can play a big part in this, such as variable seat lift which lets you access so much more independently and engage with people eye-to-eye. Standing at a bar or sitting comfortably at a table or desk are then easily achievable – simple tasks that all add up to greater self-esteem.
Naomi Wheeler is one of our customers who recently explained on the BBC how her Trekinetic has dramatically improved her mental health and lifestyle. She has been able to visit places, such as the beach, that she thought would never happen again. “My wheelchair is my freedom, I can do whatever I want and I’m defying the odds. It pulled me out of depression.” Her full story can be found here.