Different Strokes for Different Folks: Indoor Rowing at Sweat for a Vet

(Terry Smythe‘s impressions of her participation on behalf of Concept2 at the first annual Sweat for a Vet event)

On November 13th, hundreds of people in fitness centers around the world came together to Sweat for a Vet to celebrate Veteran’s Day and one of the greatest lessons we have to learn from them, their resilience.  I represented Concept2 at the main Sweat for a Vet venue, Tysons Sport & Health, where well over 100 able-bodied and disabled people pedaled Spin bikes, Krankcycled and rowed for three hours to raise funds to buy fitness equipment for disabled vets.

Rowers were represented well by the crew from Capital Rowing Clubs Capital Adaptive program.  They kept the flywheels spinning on five rowing machines throughout the three hours and racked up nearly 145,000 meters in the process.  Big thanks and congratulations to all of them!

Sweat for a Vet was organized by Project VisAbility, which works to get disabled people jobs in the fitness industry and in so doing both help them find new careers and change perceptions of people with disabilities.

Based on what I saw, that formula is a winner.  The biggest thing that struck me was the event’s inclusiveness: wheelchair tires and sneakers mixed in beautiful synchronicity on the floor, able and disabled bodies working together.  Everyone was there for the best reason, creating power strokes of endurance for a good cause, through pedal strokes, bike strokes and rowing strokes.

There were some notable people in attendance, including Spinning and Krankcycle creator Johnny G, but for me the real stars were the incredibly fit Project VisAbility “Inspirations,” fitness instructors who shared their stories of how they were disabled and came back from their injuries, in part through fitness.

In addition to their tales of bravery, you couldn’t help but be inspired by these people’s leadership on the workout floor, sweating as much or more as anyone else.  It was a great reminder that “disabled” doesn’t mean “unable.”  On the contrary, I often find in my work with UCanRow2 that disabled people have a much better work ethic and attitude than their able-bodied counterparts.

No matter our size, age or ability, there is a workout that’s right for us all and we have no excuse not to keep doing as much as we can with our bodies, every workout, every day.

So what’s your workout for today?

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