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Ben Clark, is a C7 quadriplegic, personal trainer, and owner of Adapt To Perform. He lives in Poole, Dorset with his girlfriend and in 2021 was voted one of Britain's Top 100 most influential disabled people for his ongoing work promoting the benefits of exercise. WheelPower is proud to be have worked alongside Ben to improve more disabled lives through our online programmes during the pandemic, and together we will continue to provide more opportunities in 2022.
"In 2010 whilst training for the Olympics as a swimmer I dove into the sea and broke my neck changing my life forever. Despite having 75% of my body paralysed I was determined to not let it defeat me and set out to live my life to the full. That thinking led me to Adapt To Perform which I started as a way to help myself and others like me get fit and healthy no matter their circumstances, a first of kind! ATP is now the world's largest resource of adapted fitness helping over 10,000 individuals all over the world live their life to the fullest. I do this all through content creation via both the Adapt To Perform website and social media."
Following Ben's injury, he attended the 2011 Inter Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium where he got to experience a variety of sports, and after a fun week of activity he came away with a winning medal and trophy in swimming and table tennis.
What do you enjoy about delivering the online classes for WheelPower?
"I think what I love most about delivering these classes for WheelPower is getting to help so many people with a wide variety of ability levels. The challenge of adapting my workouts for the different people that attend is both fun and engaging and it really feels like I'm making a difference in their lives. The sense of camaraderie and community within the sessions I think it's really important both for the physical and mental well-being, particularly during the time of lockdown where a lot of the individuals attending didn't have access to a social structure. This is exactly why I do it and continue to do it to this day."
"I really try to adapt my workouts for all levels of ability and fitness and provide advice on making the workouts easier or tougher. And all my sessions come with a smile!" - Ben Clark.
Since the Covid 19 pandemic began Ben has been working in partnership with WheelPower to bring 10 Online Workout Videos and a weekly Live Exercise Class on Zoom. The videos and classes have been incredibly popular and continue to be enjoyed in 2022 by disabled people across the UK (and beyond) Check out Ben's Fitness Videos on the WheelPower YouTube Channel and click on the banner below to find out more about his online class, every Tuesday at 11am:
How important has regular exercise and these new online opportunities been to you and the people we support during the past 18 months?
"Exercise has proven to have many benefits both physically and mentally. These benefits are still present whether you're disabled or not. In my work as a personal trainer I'm often telling people how important it is to be consistent over time. It's not about how much we could do in a short amount of time but how we can change our lives and have a more active lifestyle. The regularity of the sessions and the way they are structured means that people look forward to coming into the sessions. Is it down to multiple factors including community, the challenge of the session and much more! This means that participation is higher and also more consistent over a period of time."
Do you have any tips for staying motivated and exercising during the colder winter months?
"During the winter months it can be quite hard to be motivated especially in those cold dark mornings and coming home after work to darkness. However, at this time it is more important than ever to stay fit and healthy to fight off the inevitable rise in viruses going around. For this I recommend sticking to doing what you love and what you keep coming back to, as the more consistent you can be during this time the better. Obviously going outside into the cold can be quite tricky for some so doing what you can at home is ideal. This can range from the resistance bands workouts to cardio and much more. Keeping that regularity really does help."