Adaptive fitness opens doors for people with disabilities

Published: August 9, 2018 1:30 PM EDT
Updated: August 9, 2018 9:58 PM EDT

Finding motivation and getting to the gym for exercise is a real challenge for many of us, but some people living in the Fort Myers area face an extra challenge.

“We say, don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.”

Bob Henshaw is a quadriplegic living in Fort Myers.

“I used to do triathlons, and I was out on a practice ride,” said Henshaw. “I had a bike accident, went over the handlebars and broke my neck.”

His accident happened four years ago, and today, you might never know.

“The only thing I could do was move my eyelids. Now I can walk with a walker,” he said.

He says much of that progress is thanks to Around the Clock Fitness’ adaptive fitness challenge.

“To see the amount of effort and courage it takes to take on these challenges is truly inspiring,” said trainer Rich Kline.

And it’s not just a one-time deal. Some of the people involved have been coming to the gym for years.

“We have people with strokes. They’re blind. No limbs. One limb longer than the other. Congitive,” Kline said.

And they are preparing for the second annual adaptive fitness challenge which is happening this weekend.

Studies including one by the University of Toronto, show that physical activity can help a disabled person’s state of mind by reducing anxiety and boosting self-esteem.

“It’s a great testament to the human spirit,” said Kline.

Which is why Henshaw says more programs like the adaptive fitness challenge are needed in Southwest Florida.

“It gave me hope that I’d be able to keep going and progressing.”

The second annual adaptive fitness challenge is this Saturday at Around the Clock’s Boyscout Drive location in Fort Myers. Registration is $30.