Adapting What You Do: Continuing Activities After an ALS Diagnosis

For people with ALS, a lot of lifestyle changes have to be made as the disease progresses, including changes in how free time is spent. Those who are active or have a favorite hobby often find symptom progression challenging and disheartening. However, there are ways to keep doing what you enjoy doing despite ALS. Here are some ways you can stay involved with both indoor and outdoor activities.

Outdoor Recreation

In eastern Missouri and central and southern Illinois, there’s an abundance of opportunities to get involved in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing and hiking. For people with ALS, there are several resources available depending on location to continue enjoying these activities.

For Missouri residents, The Missouri Department of Conservation loans all-terrain wheelchairs that are available for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities in group settings. For people with ALS in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources offer a number of special events for people confined to wheelchairs throughout the year. Both Missouri and Illinois also offer group hunting activities for people with disabilities, including ALS, available throughout the year depending on the hunting season.

In addition to resources available in each state, there is also equipment individuals can find that can make these activities easier. For those who enjoy fishing, things like automatic casters and reelers as well as dock ramps can help make accessing these hobbies easier.

Indoor Activities

For people with ALS who enjoy activities like knitting, building, puzzles, or other artistic outlets that are now difficult to continue, it can be hard to work with hands-on activities like these as time passes. Depending on how symptoms progress it could take a while before diligent, detailed work required for some of these hobbies is no longer possible.

For those who like puzzles or buildings, continuing variations of these activities are easily accomplished online with different types of games and programs. Artistic people with ALS may find it useful to take different avenues to express their creativity using various technology, like smart phones or tablets, or other online resources.

Sports and Physical Recreation

If individuals with ALS have an interest remaining active in specific sports, there may be different equipment available that would allow them to continue. If maintaining that particular sport is no longer an option, it’s still important to remain active in any capacity. Simple exercises and stretches are still important to staying healthy.

Learn more about the importance of staying active

Watching sports on television or online can help people with ALS stay engaged with what they love. Wheelchair accessibility is also more prevalent at stadiums and arenas, making it easier to attend a game in person.

Some activities over time will be impossible to continue as the disease continues. But that doesn’t mean people with ALS are completely out of options. Adapting interests and even discovering new ones can be a fun, eye-opening process. The most important thing to keep in mind is to continue doing what you enjoy until it becomes a problem.

For more information on the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter, visit http://www.alsa-stl.org.

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