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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Churchill Fellowship Day Twelve: STRIDing Forwards

Today I met the amazing people of STRIDE Adaptive Sports based in Abany, New York.

I’m finding is difficult to put into words how much I learned today, about adaptive sports, therapies and much much more. Me and Leisa both got to have a go at ariel Yoga and I got to experience a Zero Gravity treadmill. Whilst the facility at STRIDE is pretty incredible, it’s the people that make the place and it certainly seems that STRIDE has the right people supporting its mission.

I would never have pegged ariel Yoga as a powerful adaptive therapy but I was proved ever so wrong! The weightless nature and versatility of the silks makes for a therapeutic experience that redefines movement and is suitable for a wide range of therapy techniques, including massage and stretching. I even got to do a full inversion which was a total rush and gave me the best arm stretch I’d had in years, all using gentle movement and gravity. Certainly something I want to take home and learn more about.

Video Description: A few short clips of Ariel yoga with me sitting in a silk hammock being supported by a member of the STRIDE team.

In addition, the Zero G Treadmill was a fascinating exercise in gait analysis. Originally built to train astronauts, the treadmill uses an air vacuum sealed around your waist to decrease the percentage bodyweight resting on the lower limbs, all controlled to 1% increments. Incredibly, as we reduced the percentage I could actually see my gait changing with a built in camera. I was only in the device for 12 minutes but I was able to use muscles that I can’t otherwise activate and the whole experience was both invigorating and exhausting. In a way it works in a similar way to my Frame Runner, but this is a far more targeted and strictly controlled gait development and improvement tool.

Video Description: Zero Gravity treadmill, looking at the external treadmill and on screen video to see how my gait changes as we reduce the bodyweight on my lower half.

I honestly cannot thank the fabulous team at STRIDE enough for a day full of education, friendly conversation and like-minded kinship. The welcoming, relaxed and expertise-filled environment presents an excellent model for what an adaptive sports facility can be. I won’t soon forget this experience and I’ll be using everything I learned to fuel my passion for increasing access to adaptive recreation in the UK.

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