Inclusive Sport  – A personal Perspective ‘Get Out Get Active’

Inclusive Sport – A personal Perspective ‘Get Out Get Active’

As You know I love to be active and lead a healthy lifestyle. Here is a blog is written by my husband on inclusive sport and the activities that we do together. 

Statistics show disabled people to be the least active group in the UK and it would seem logical that this is the case around the world.

 

The ‘Disabled People’s Lifestyle Report’ from September 2013 found that there is clear untapped demand for physical activity and sport within the community in the UK with 70 percent of the disabled people surveyed stating they would like to be more active. The report also found that 64 percent of the disabled people surveyed would prefer to take part in sport and physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.  However, at the time of the report, only 51 percent did so.  The UK research highlighted a clear mismatch between people’s preferences and the availability of opportunities. Over 60 percent of those surveyed claimed that either a lack of awareness of opportunities or a lack of available opportunities is what prevents them from taking part in sport and physical activity.  Get Out Get Active is a project aimed at addressing these issues.

 

Get Out Get Active is a programme to encourage more disabled and non-disabled people to enjoy being active together and has been introduced by a consortium of partners led by the English Federation of Disability Sport. The £4.5m programme concentrates on ‘fun and inclusive activities’ over a period of three years.

 

As the husband of a T12 paraplegic and somebody who has been involved in disability sport in various roles from volunteer to coach to administrator since 1991 I can relate very strongly to the finding that many disabled people want to take part in physical activity with a mix of disabled and non-disabled people.

 

My wife, Samanta, is a former no 1 Brazilian wheelchair tennis player and very active but the majority of her current activities are with non-disabled family and friends.  In her wheelchair tennis career, the competition was with other disabled people.  Outside of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Tour and since retiring the vast majority of Sam’s physical activity and sport is done with non-disabled people.

samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga
Acroyoga X Wheelchair User

 

The list of activities and sports she has tried is extensive

Archery – Basketball –  Beach Tennis – Camping – Canoeing – Cycling – Dancing

Fitness classes – Golf – Gym – Netball – Roller skating – Snorkelling – Squash

Swimming- Surfing – Table Tennis –  Pushing/Walk – Trampolining – Yoga including Acroyoga

As a couple we want to do activities together and this certainly applies to our nieces who don’t see any barriers to the activities that we can do as a group.  When planning to go roller skating the question came up as to whether the venue would allow Sam to go round in her wheelchair. The younger niece who must have been 7 at the time said ‘Of course it will be ok as she already has wheels.’  Our nieces love to do activities with us as a group.  We cycle, run, push, attend fitness classes, go swimming and play tennis as a family.  We take part in these activities in the house, in the garden, in parks, in the countryside, in sports clubs & in leisure centres.

 

 

In the words of a 11-year-old niece ‘I like the challenge of going on cycling adventures with Sam and solving how we will get over and around obstacles like rough ground, up & down slopes, across narrow bridges over ditches & occasionally up & downstairs using teamwork.  When we go swimming I don’t notice Sam has a disability. She is such a good swimmer’

 

We believe strongly in the benefits of inclusive activity and sport but not just for the physical benefits.  Exercise and social interaction are beneficial for the wellbeing of all family members.  Exercise & sport for disabled people does not have to be in disability specific sessions.  People can go for a walk/push with non-disabled family and friends of a similar fitness level.  Some people may prefer to participate with people with a similar impairment.  Some may want a combination of both complementing time spent with family & friends with time with people with a similar impairment sharing thoughts and ideas.  The key is that the disabled person is in a position to make choices about the most suitable environment(s) for them to exercise and play sport.

 

To conclude everybody should Get Out and Get Active.  I am off for a run followed by some yoga.

 

My Amazing Experience with AcroYoga & Why You Should Try It!

My Amazing Experience with AcroYoga & Why You Should Try It!

samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga
Seating Position

Many people assume that being disabled means you are limited to what you can do, but let me tell you, the world is still your oyster. You can do whatever you put your mind to, and when you do put your mind to something, you’ll realise that you can achieve way more than you anticipate. Now, recently I’ve started taking AcroYoga classes to challenge myself, go beyond my potential and leave my comfort zone – I strongly urge you to do the same.

For those that don’t know, AcroYoga is essentially a wonderful harmony between partner acrobatics, Yoga and Thai massage. It involves a base person (on the ground), a flyer (off the ground), and a spotter (standing to ensure safety). I’ve currently had four sessions, and it’s very demanding; I have no feeling in my right leg, and can only move my left leg slightly, but that allows me to push myself even further.samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga

Moreover, AcroYoga is designed to build trust, but I’ve also found that it requires communication, love, care and effort between both partners. Personally, I attend classes with my husband, but if you want to go solo, then you’ll be able to meet new people, develop friendships, and find a friendly partner within the group.

Alongside having a spotter there to protect you, it’s best not to take any extreme risks that could result in injury. However, luckily there’s padded flooring which will soften the blow if you did fall, so there’s no need to worry.

samanta bullock acroyoga disabled yoga
Long talks – Love

Of course, having been just four times, I haven’t attempted any wild positions just yet, but just doing the basic ones is fantastic – it’s a brilliant feeling when you prove to yourself that you can do something that you once thought was impossible.

Although, I’m sure that we’ll start to incorporate more advanced moves as time goes on. It’s amazing to have that trust with your partner and witness the improvement in both of you each class. In my experience so far, my strength, balance, flexibility and mindset has evolved drastically, which is why I rate AcroYoga so highly. In combination with the massage aspect of it, it just makes you feel great for hours afterwards.

Ultimately, it’s a fun activity that everyone can get involved with, no matter what your circumstance. It will enhance physical, mental and interpersonal skills, but the main thing is that you’ll reach new heights as a person. Like I’ve already touched on, you never know what you can achieve in life, so just give it a try!

What have you got to lose?

Mai Theory is One of My Favourite Fashion Brands – Here’s Why…

Mai Theory is One of My Favourite Fashion Brands – Here’s Why…

samanta bullock wheelchair model
London Organic PR
picture by sikandarphotowala

Mai Theory is One of My Favourite Fashion Brands – Here’s Why…

At the London Ethnic Boutique event that I attended recently, I was able to gather with a group of other like-minded people to explore a vast array of different fashion labels. There were so many stands displaying stunning pieces that it was hard to decide which ones I loved the most. But, one of the brands that definitely caught my eye was Mai Theory, or Mai The.o.ry as they’re also known!

Arguably, the main factor which drew me to their stand was the uniqueness of their items. All of their clothing was so gorgeous but was unlike anything I’d seen before. From their floral dresses and denim mini-shorts, to blue-galaxy jackets and sleek crop-tops, they truly cater for everyone. However, their speciality is in sophisticated clothing embroidery, and their standard, quality and designs are how they differ from other brands.

mai theory samanta bullock wheelchair model jacket street look
Makes you happy!

Alongside the clothing, which is absolutely beautiful, they also offer contemporary handmade jewellery. If you’re looking for some jewellery that looks classy for a night out, looks elegant for a family dinner, or is casual enough to wear on a day to day basis, Mai Theory may be the perfect choice.

Plus, all of their items contain a lot of character and authenticity, due to the fact that they do handmake all of it. Moreover, the meaning behind the brand is very endearing, and it forces you to delve in deeper. You see, the meaning of the word Mai relates to clothing and accessories are more than just adornments – they’re things that represent our personality, reflect our beliefs and radiate our inner-being.

So, ultimately, the brand ethos coincides very well with the clothing and jewellery that they produce. When I was there at the stand, taking pictures and speaking to them, I could really sense a family feel; it felt like Mai

mai theory samanta bullock wheelchair model jacket street look
Sparkle everywhere. Let’s shine!

Theory truly cared about the people that showed interest in their products, and felt proud when people adorned them.

At the end of the event, I was left feeling full of energy and excitement, just because I have such a strong passion for fashion. I’m so, so glad I discovered Mai Theory, and they’re a brand that I want to invest more time and effort into. Now, if you want to check out their range of clothing and jewellery, then you can either visit their site, or check out their Instagram page (both links will be below).

Website: [insert]

Instagram: [Instagram]

Mik Scarlet Interview on Fashion for Wheelchair Users

Mik Scarlet Interview on Fashion for Wheelchair Users

Hi friends.

mik scarlet interview samanta bullock wheelchair user clothes
Mik Scarlet

I really enjoyed talking fashion with fellow Parallel London ambassador Mik Scarlet.  We share thoughts on the best clothes for wheelchair users and Mik talks in a very honest and humorous way about his views on the fashion industry. He gives an insight into his choice of clothes and you may be surprised.  Take a look at the video. Thank you to Parallel London for the use of your meeting room for this interview.

Love Sam x