How many people’s packing list for travel includes a wheelchair, oxygen generator and a spare leg?
Our company, Fitneff, advocates integrating movement into everyday life, so I am always encouraging people to break away from the status quo and embrace movement. For three weeks last fall I had a chance to be inspired by two amazing seniors who have shown me that integrating movement can be accomplished anywhere, by anyone, at any age!
My father, Ken, and his wife Fran were in a head-on-collision five years ago that almost took their lives. Fortunately, they survived, but my Dad is now an amputee and Fran has limited mobility and requires oxygen 24/7. Most people would have slowed down, but for them, it only increased the desire to travel. Their “bucket list” was to visit Egypt, Jordan and the Holy Land. For this trip, my wife and I joined them as their travel companions and assistants.
For three weeks we walked, rolled and hobbled across the Middle East.
In Egypt, we touched the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza after maneuvering the wheelchair through a rocky path. At the Valley of the Dead, we somehow rolled into a pharaoh's tomb and back without getting stuck. On the Nile River, we carried a wheelchair from the docks to a horse carriage to see the temple of Horus at Edfu, and we even took a taxi boat to see the Philae Temple on an island in the Nile. In Jordan, we took another horse carriage through the al-Siq to see Petra’s Treasury and rode a 4X4 through the Wadi Rum Desert.
The Holy Land was a marathon of sites that, being a few millenniums old, were not designed for disabled access, but we managed to get a wheelchair and amputee to places that were meant for able bodies. It was quite an experience to travel the Via Dolorosa against the flow of hundreds of pilgrims walking the Stations of the Cross! A dream of Fran’s was to float in the Dead Sea which became our biggest challenge of the trip as we had to maneuver down dirt paths to a lakeshore that has dropped 40 meters from the original level.
Integrating movement into life is just as much a psychological change as a physical change. It was inspiring to be part of a journey with two amazing disabled people choosing to integrate movement into their lives no matter the challenges. After three weeks of an adventure making the “impossible” become possible, it seems that getting people to move a bit instead of sitting all day should be an easy thing to accomplish.
I challenge everyone to embrace movement into your daily life. If seniors in a wheelchair and with a prosthetic leg can do it, so can you!
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With Family Day fast approaching it is time to start thinking about how your family can get together and get moving.This year Family Day falls on February 19th for Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan, and on February 12th for British Columbia. The holiday is not only a break from your regular schedule, but also a great day to set aside and encourage the whole family to add some movement into their day. Here are 5 ways to integrate movement this Family Day!