Peloton and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation announce the launch of a special adaptive fitness collaboration designed to bring immersive and challenging workouts into people’s lives in an accessible, efficient, community-driven way. 

The “Seated Adaptive Strength” program is designed by Peloton Instructor Logan Aldridge with expertise contributed by Reeve Foundation community members and ambassadors especially for wheelchair users living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) or other causes of paralysis. The eight-class program, available on the platform beginning today, is geared primarily toward seated athletes with some hand and arm function. The series also includes a special meditation class led by Peloton Instructor Ross Rayburn that provides breathing techniques and other nuanced instruction designed specifically to accommodate the needs of those living with quadriplegia. 

In addition, and in recognition of November as National Family Caregivers Month, Peloton and the Reeve Foundation have also curated “Adaptive Training: Caregivers Spotlight,” a collection of 21 classes, especially for caregivers. These classes have been handpicked from Peloton’s content library to support caregivers’ mental, emotional and physical health – both as self-care and for the oftentimes strenuous work that is essential to caregiving, such as wheelchair transfers. The collection focuses on breathwork, upper body stretches, lower body strength, healthy back yoga flows, and strength warm-ups.

“Inclusion is defined as ‘for everyone,’ and accessible means ‘attainable, achievable for all,'” says Oluwaferanmi O. Okanlami, MD, MS, Director of Adaptive Sports and Fitness at the University of Michigan, national disability advocate and practicing physician living with an SCI. Dr. Okanlami shared his expertise to inform the Seated Adaptive Strength program.

“The path to full inclusion and accessibility is not a one-stop effort, but a process and this collaboration represents an exciting phase on the journey. It’s been my pleasure to be able to join this effort, as it acknowledges the importance of lived experience.” Dr. Okanlami and Jeff Miller of The Adam Miller Memorial Fund at the University of Michigan were instrumental in crafting the program.

Other Reeve Foundation community members who shared valuable input as the program came to life include:

  • Paralympian Chuck Aoki, who leads Prescription to Play, a program housed at the University of Michigan’s Adaptive Sports and Fitness program that aims to increase awareness, knowledge, access, and participation as it relates to adaptive sports, fitness, recreation and other wellness resources for people with SCI;
  • Former National Women’s Hockey League player Denna Laing, who experienced an SCI in 2015. Laing continues daily rehabilitation and has refused to give up her active lifestyle;
  • Eric LeGrand, who established Team LeGrand of the Reeve Foundation following his SCI, which occurred on the football field when he played for Rutgers University;
  • Dr. Rex Marco, a nationally renowned spinal surgeon and musculoskeletal oncologist who was paralyzed in a bicycle accident in 2019. In 2020, he established the Rex Marco, MD, Fund of the Reeve Foundation and serves as the Foundation’s Chief Medical Ambassador.
  • Hanna Neider, wife and caregiver to her husband, who lives with an SCI. Hanna also serves as Peer & Family Support Program Coordinator at the Foundation. Both Hanna and her husband have competed in marathons as part of Team Reeve to raise funds for SCI research. 

This collaboration, believed to be the first-of-its-kind among a leading interactive fitness platform and a nonprofit, builds on the Reeve Foundation’s support for adaptive sports and fitness through its Quality of Life grants program. Since 2014, the program has awarded more than $5.1 million to nearly 350 organizations to support adaptive sports and fitness projects.

“Since joining the Peloton team a year ago, I’ve been very focused on my mission to educate and support amputees and adaptive athletes of all abilities, while finding new ways to provide different populations of Members with empowering fitness solutions,” said Peloton Instructor Logan Aldridge.

“The partnership with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and the Seated Adaptive Strength program we created together, exemplifies exactly why I came to Peloton. It’s a really exciting moment in our ongoing commitment to our accessibility efforts, and I’m grateful to The Foundation’s community experts and ambassadors who collaborated with me to bring this program to life in support of our Members who are wheelchair users.”

The Seated Adaptive Strength Program and the Adaptive Training: Caregivers Spotlight collection are available on the Peloton App. Members who complete a class from the program will receive a custom badge on their profile. Aldridge and the Foundation will discuss the collaboration with a virtual panel in late November and will celebrate an in-class moment on December 3, 2022, in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, also Aldridge’s one-year anniversary at Peloton. 

“Among the Foundation’s highest priorities is improving the lives of those living with or caring for someone living with paralysis. Despite widespread interest and participation in adaptive sports and fitness, the options for home-based programs are minimal and typically are not intended as truly inclusive – rather they are separate options for our community,” said Maggie Goldberg, CEO of the Reeve Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Peloton and applaud the company for its genuine interest in creating content that acknowledges and includes the real-life experiences of people impacted by paralysis.”

[Source(s): Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, PR Newswire]