While we often focus on how fashion can help people with disabilities improve their self-esteem, being active and fit also plays a big part. At the Mount Sinai Hospital in Hartford, CT rehabilitation specialists are using adaptive rowing to not only provide exercise for people with disabilities but also take advantage of the therapeutic power of the great outdoors.
The first-of-its-kind program provides individuals with a physical disability or visual impairment the opportunity to participate in the sport of rowing on the Connecticut River, one of the most scenic settings in New England.
This forward-thinking program is based on the Connecticut River at the Greater Hartford Jaycees Community Boathouse in Hartford’s Riverside Park. Led by therapeutic rehabilitation specialists and physical therapists from Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the program makes safety a top priority and uses boats outfitted with modified equipment to accommodate a variety of disabilities. The two-person shells can be outfitted with fixed seats to provide support and added security for individuals with limited or no use of their legs.
Rowing was chosen for its mind and body stimulation. Rowing requires as much concentration as it does physical motion. The smooth, non-jarring exercise makes use of all available muscle groups and is also considered a relaxing leisure activity that helps calm participants.
The program at Mount Sinai is made possible through the sponsorship and funding of several organizations including the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the Connecticut Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Bret H. Chernik Amputee Foundation.