Sophie Carrigill and Richmond Dales ASC explore getting active at home!

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The past year has been an incredibly tough one for disabled people across the country.

With three national lockdowns brought in, morale and motivation to get active has been hit hard.

That’s where we came in.

We wanted to hear first-hand the experiences people have been having, to see how we can best support getting active safely at home and to demonstrate how that’s done – through our Inclusive Home Workout Zone (IHWOZ).

And so, Paralympic ace Sophie Carrgill swapped wheelchair basketball for webinars to give one lucky swimming club a night they’d never forget last month.

Carrigill joined six members of Richmond Dales Amateur Swimming Club on a fascinating virtual session last month, discussing the struggles of lockdown while also highlighting how to keep active at home even through the toughest of times.

“This has been a fantastic experience for all of our athletes and we will be actively encouraging them to continue making use of the Inclusive Home Workout Zone,” Keith Hall, para coach and club development officer, said.

“The Drum & Bass kickboxing session with Project49 was just incredible. The fact two of our squad ‘bumped into’ their buddies on the session really made for a fun & high-energy experience.”

Formed in 1976, Richmond Dales has around 120 swimmers and is truly inclusive, catering for everyone from those just starting out through to performance swimmers.

The six members on the call from Richmond Dale’s para-squad ranged in ages from nine right up to 25 and were a lively bunch, keen to mix things up and explore alternative ways to get active.

All six have been affected by the lockdowns in different ways, but shared that keeping active as much as possible has helped pull them through.

“I really enjoyed the yoga session. It was my first time and I had a very good experience! Thank you,” said nine-year-old Sophia Newton.

Our IHWOZ is a unique section of the Parasport website and has functioned as a crucial platform in keeping disabled people active throughout the pandemic by collating inclusive opportunities to get active online from various credible clubs and organisations around the UK.

And so Carrigill, who is determined to help sports clubs and disabled people more broadly keep active, relished taking time out of her schedule to have open and honest conversations with Richmond Dales’ motivated members.

On the night of the webinar, Carrigill got the ball rolling by introducing herself before engaging in an insightful Q&A about Richmond Dales’ experiences in lockdown and being away from the pool.

And the session then shifted to all things Inclusive Home Workout Zone, with Carrigill emphasising the physical and mental benefits that getting active can afford and which the accessibility of the online platform has facilitated throughout the pandemic.

After all the talk, it was time for action with Sophie leading a section of one of Parasport’s home workouts with the club, energising the group before rounding off by encouraging the participants to send in photos – and videos – of themselves engaging in online sessions of their choosing from the IHWOZ with friends and family.

The webinar fostered a feel-good factor all night long and Carrigill, a motivational speaker passionate about inclusion, was thrilled to further spread the Inclusive Home Workout Zone message.

“The Inclusive Home Workout Zone is such a great platform to have – it’s so inclusive,” she said.

“You can do it with anybody and I think that’s really key for exercise with anybody in mind.

“I came off with a massive smile on my face and a buzz.

“I feel like helping people is key. Yes, I’m an athlete and I get to go and represent my country which is amazing but I’ve got a platform which I want to use in a really positive way.

“Being able to do things like that for other groups of people, to inspire and encourage them, is something I’m really passionate about.”

If you’re bored of your daily stroll, check out the IHWOZ to freshen-up the way you choose to get active! If you’d like to join in on the fun, we’d love to see what you get up to – post photos of yourself and family/friends getting active on social media and tag @ParasportUK using the hashtag #anyonesgame.

By sharing your healthy efforts with us online you also encourage others to try something new. So, get online, mix it up, and have fun testing out new ways to get active!