Sharing His Love of Fitness With the World
Athleticism has always come naturally to Ben Clark, a 27-year-old from the UK. Before his injury, he was on his way to becoming an Olympic swimmer. “I competed for Great Britain with the goal of going to the 2012 Olympics, had a scholarship to a sports school and even moved to Australia to train for a year,” he says.
A swimming accident in 2010, however, changed his plans. “I ran into the sea and dove into a wave, and the water was shallower than expected.” He became a C5-6 quadriplegic as a result. But Clark didn’t let his injury put him in a dark hole. “I’ve always had a positive outlook on life and don’t let things get the better of me. I just saw my injury as a new experience.”
After his injury, he gave adaptive swimming a go. “I tried the Paralympic route in 2012, but it wasn’t the same as before,” he admits. “However, I’m still involved as a coach with some very good swimmers.” He’s instead found a new outlet for his love of fitness — making adaptive workout videos — and started a YouTube channel, called Adapt to Perform.
Clark’s love of high intensity internal training (various sets of cardio workouts) is partly why he began making videos. “HIIT workouts have always been something I’ve done. With their rise in popularity, I wanted to show other wheelchair users they didn’t have to miss out,” he says, adding that his best videos are the ones that don’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere. He has made several.
“The response has been bigger and more positive than I could ever have hoped for,” he says. His end goal? “I want to reach more people and inspire everyone to go out and exercise, even if they’re not disabled.”
Watch his videos: Youtube.com/AdaptToPerform
Beam Me Anywhere, Scotty
While it’s always ideal to get out of the house and take advantage of our semi-accessible country, sometimes it’s impossible. Spinal cord injuries and being stuck inside are unfortunate bedfellows. If you’re newly injured and can’t leave the hospital or are on bedrest, the Beam Smart Presence System is one of the coolest ways to virtually get out of the house.
This device can give you a physical presence anywhere. It uses an app similar to Facetime, with an iPad as the head and your virtual eyes, and it’s all put on a robot on wheels, that you control. This is perfect for anyone who wants to still attend classes or wants to work outside the home. Ship it anywhere, and with a strong Wi-Fi connection you can explore wherever your heart desires. It’s spendy, at $1,995, but for anyone that’s stuck in their house, this is a cool new adaptive technology option. Search for Beam Smart Presence System at Amazon.com.
Chronic Pain’s New Cliff’s Notes
Up-to-date literature on how to manage chronic pain for people with SCI is hard to come by, which is why The Spinal Cord Injury Pain Book is a must-download. This 203-page book offers practical tips, including exercise, distraction methods, relaxation/meditation tips and advice from people living with paralysis. It’s available on iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1020549194