Those with erb’s palsy may be told they can’t do sports, but that certainly is not the case. Discover just some of the many sports available to you, here…
People with disabilities were not always encouraged to try sport. Even a few decades ago, those with disabilities like erb’s palsy would have been told a desk job is all that’s possible. That said, this is simply not the case.
These days, the stigma surrounding sporting with disabilities is becoming less and less prominent. In fact, by simply making erb's palsy claims, beneficial adjustments to sporting equipment can be afforded. What’s more, many sports can be achieved even without these adjustments, and many people with erb’s palsy compete against able-bodied individuals too!
In this article, we’ll be exploring just some of the many sports that are possible to try with this condition. Take a look…
1. Walking and Running
As erb’s palsy only affects the upper half of the body, walking, jogging, and running are great ways to keep fit with erb’s palsy. Luckily, this provides a huge range of potential exercises and equipment to try, including the elliptical and running machine.
The only difference to the average person when using running machines and ellipticals is the lack of motion in one arm, which may affect balance. Normally, these machines have handrails or bars to hold in order to keep steady, and the use of one arm may limit this. However, as long as you take it at your own pace, it should be just fine.
2. Body Weight Exercises
Never underestimate the power of bodyweight exercises in keeping fit and gaining muscle. Although some may be more difficult than others to master, due to the use of both hands, that’s not to say it’s not possible. In fact, the following body weight exercises are certainly possible to try with erb’s palsy:
- Press ups
- Push ups
- Sit ups
3. Cycling Machine
It’s not particularly safe for someone with erb’s palsy to head out cycling on the roads due to the lack of motion in one arm which can affect balance. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cycle on a machine at the gym or at home.
With technology and gyms becoming more advanced, cycling indoors is becoming more and more popular. Most gyms these days have spin classes, which are intense workouts designed to challenge those who enjoy cycling indoors. What’s more, at-home cycling machines provide even more scope for enjoyment.
Although it may surprise you due to the use of oars which require the arms, rowing is actually a great sport to try if you have erb’s palsy.
As rowing is a leg-driven sport, it is possible for someone with minimal movement in one arm to row, and even compete! Grace Clough is a perfect example of someone who has done just that, even competing in the Paralympics.
5. Lifting Weights
Although the range of motion in someone with erb’s palsy isn’t always ideal, for some, weightlifting could be a good way to keep fit. Usually, just one arm will be affected by this type of palsy, which means the other is good to go. So, trying single-arm weights may be a great way to build strength on your stronger side.
For those with partial erb’s palsy, meaning the arm is not completely paralysed, taking on smaller weights on the affected arm could even help rehabilitation. As long as you have your doctor’s go-ahead, you might be able to start building some strength back here.
Another sporting success story is Joe Hughes who, despite his doctors and teachers telling him he would never succeed, did just that. He ended up holding the European light-welterweight title from 2018 to 2019.
So, despite the need for motion in the arms when it comes to boxing, that doesn’t mean someone with erb’s palsy can’t give it a go.
Basketball is also a great sport for someone with erb’s palsy, and Landus Anderson is a prime example of someone who has succeeded in this regard. As long as you have the strength and agility to catch and throw using just the one hand, nothing is stopping you.
8. Racquet Sports
The great thing about racquet sports is that most of them require just one hand to play successfully. Most players won’t switch throughout the game, and will use their strongest arm, which means someone with erb’s palsy can definitely get involved too.
Some examples of racquet sports worth trying could include:
As you can see, the list of these types of sports that are possible to play with erb’s palsy is almost endless. You just have to give it a go and see if it’s for you.
Ready to Try These Sports for People with Erb’s Palsy?
As you can see, people with erb’s palsy are not completely restricted in terms of the sports they can and can’t do. Of course, some sports simply aren’t safe to try with limited motion in the arms, but others are completely possible.
In fact, sporting legends listed above even prove that you don’t have to compete alongside those with erb’s palsy. You can also compete in the mainstream sporting arena too!
If competitive sport isn’t your cup of tea, however, the above list simply demonstrates that there are minimal limits to your condition. Getting out there are giving things a go is the best option, with the guidance of your doctor along the way.
Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you’re seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.
Photo 1 – Isaac Wendland, https://unsplash.com/photos/7DCZgKyp8vw
Photo 2 – Mitchel Luo, https://unsplash.com/photos/H3htK85wwnU
Photo 3 – Renith R, https://unsplash.com/photos/MLU_X1d3ofQ
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