Cyclepathic caters to 'adaptive' athletes with spinal injuries

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) -- Santa Monica gym Cyclepathic looks to help those with spinal injuries take group exercises classes.

Four years ago, an accident involving a drunk driver put Chelsie Hill in a wheelchair, but that hasn't kept her from dancing.

"We're the Walk and Roll Dance Team. So we incorporate able bodies with our dance team to show that dance is dance whether you're walking or you're rolling," said Hill, instructor for the Walk and Roll Dance Team.

Hill's team practices at CyclePathic, where owner Adam Kessel has a refreshing take on fitness.

"My whole goal is to bridge the gap between able bodied athletes and differently-abled athletes," Kessel said. "They're no different than us, they've had unfortunate circumstances."

From indoor cycling, strength and conditioning, to dance, Kessel's workouts run the fitness gamut and all of them welcome what he calls "adaptive" athletes.

According to the Life Rolls On organization, over one million Americans suffer some sort of spinal cord injury and about six million Americans have some sort of paralysis. So for them to be able to get some sort of workout in Santa Monica is a step in the right direction.

"I've been an athlete my entire life. Before I was hurt I was a softball player," said Tiffany Giddes of Marina del Rey.

Giddes, a competitive power lifter, is part of the dance team and loves the indoor cycle class.

In the cycling class, some need help peddling, some to stay upright, but all say the feeling, while foreign, is amazing.

"The first time I saw it, I think I cried," said Giddes.

Kessel is adapting equipment for them, but for now, all his trainers are educated to accommodate the various needs of clients.

He stresses that being athletic is not a requirement to workout.

"Their motivation and their drive just to keep pushing and overcome any obstacle that they have no matter what it is, they learn to roll with the punches and that's something that we don't really do," said Kessell.

"No matter how long you've been injured, it's still your job to educate people," said Giddes.

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