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Sport And Recreation

Swimming offers a unique, low-impact exercise opportunity for amputees, promoting cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and endurance. It’s a fully inclusive sport, accessible to all levels of amputees, providing a sense of freedom and weightlessness not found in many other physical activities. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, here are some tips:
  • Begin with supervised sessions if you’re new to swimming post-amputation.
  • Use swim caps and goggles for comfort and better visibility.
  • Consider specialised swim prosthetics for balance and propulsion, although swimming without a prosthesis is common and encouraged.
  • Engage in water-based exercises to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Always check with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen.

Swimming is not just about physical health; it’s also a great way to connect with a community, reduce stress, and enjoy the mental health benefits of being in water. Whether in a pool, lake, or the ocean, swimming can be a rewarding part of an amputee’s journey to recovery and beyond.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Many amputees have become most adept on the snow – skiing, sit-skiing, and snowboarding. Adaptive Snowsports NZ has branches throughout the country which organize volunteer assistance, training weeks, and weekend trips to the snow. Adaptive Snowports is also supported by New Zealand’s ski areas, many of which have qualified adaptive instructors and adaptive equipment available for hire. They can be contacted at P O Box 9305, Wanaka, or through their website

Cycling and Athletics

Cycling is a very good pastime to help you regain and improve your balance. If you used to cycle before, you will probably pick it up again quite quickly. Always remember to put your artificial foot on the pedal first and dismount with your good foot.

Parafed NZ provides opportunities for amputees to participate in athletics and wheelchair sports, both nationally and internationally. The Federation supports amputees who wish to train and participate in competition.

Horse Riding and Racquet Sports

Horseback Riding – There are many branches of Riding for the Disabled throughout the country, and they are more than happy to help amputees ride.

Racquet Games – If you are a leg amputee, the first thing you must learn to do when playing racquet games is side-step towards your good leg side. Once you have mastered this, you will find that you can play squash, badminton, tennis, and other court games almost as skillfully wearing your artificial leg as with normal legs. When you first start playing, you will probably find that it is hard to move quickly round the court, but with practice, you can become quite expert. Study the game to find ways of increasing your skill and saving energy.


The shooting sports are an area of opportunity for the amputee. Generally, they do not require a high degree of mobility or fitness for full participation. One of the strengths of the shooting sports is that they are in reality very varied, catering to a wide range of interests. For example, the shooter of a muzzle-loading musket will have little in common with the clay bird trap shooter. In turn, he or she will know little of the airgun shooter on an indoor range under artificial light.

Costs vary widely. Clay bird shooting is at the top end cost-wise, with airgun at the most economical. Many clubs have guns available for new members to use until they decide whether to continue with the sport. Don’t buy anything until you have been to the club of your choice and know what is needed for that activity.

Much information can be gathered online. A useful site is the NZ Shooting Federation. This site provides information on the various shooting groups and contact details. Ideally, the best way to make your first visit to a range is with a friend who is already a member, but this is not essential. Happy shooting!

For the young amputee

Outward Bound provides organized activities and courses for the younger amputee.

The Halberg Disability Sport Foundation aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled young people, their families, and communities by enabling them to participate in sport. The Foundation employs nine dedicated field staff to support the AllSports programme throughout New Zealand. These AllSports Disability Sport Coordinators are a dedicated, skilled, and experienced group of people who passionately believe in Sir Murray Halberg’s vision and can be contacted with any questions people have about getting involved in disability sport in their region.

The main objective of the AllSports programme is to work with physically disabled young people and their families, schools, and communities, national sporting bodies, and Parafeds to ensure our young people don’t miss out on the health, wellness, and social benefits that sport provides. The AllSports Activity Fund provides physically disabled young people with grants to help overcome the financial barriers that prevent them from participating in sport – this can be for equipment, lessons and coaching, or camps. The main goal of the AllSports Activity Fund is to assist physically disabled young people to regularly participate in sport and active recreation activities.


Gardening is good therapy for everyone, no less the amputee. The following hints may make it a little easier.

Germinating seeds in a warm place inside is easily done in early spring before planting them out. A favorite for a range of herbs and vegetables is a small raised garden just near the back door or any outside door. This can be easily organized in a number of plastic plant pots, which can be raised on boxes, or disused chairs or tables etc. It makes the garden easily accessible, and there is no need to stoop down. The very enthusiastic gardener may even consider hydroponics as an alternative way to grow produce. For those amputees with balance and mobility problems, care must be taken in planning your garden. Plan gaps and width of rows so plants are accessible, and ensure surfaces are not slippery.

There is a good range of practical gardening aids available including:

  • Wide-handled grips on tools for people who have difficulty holding onto things
  • Ratchet-pruners in various sizes
  • Gardening aprons with front pockets to hold what is required
  • Weed bags to gather weeds as you go
  • Buckets on wheels to clear away rubbish easily, or specially modified, easy-to-tip wheelbarrows
  • Weed nets or carpet pieces to reduce the amount of weeding
  • Walking frames with trays

If your mobility is compromised and you would like to continue gardening, you can seek advice from the Occupational Therapy Department at your nearest hospital.

Our main goals

Promoting an active, fulfilling lifestyle for amputees through a diverse range of sports and recreational activities, emphasizing accessibility, skill development, and community support.
Amputee Guide
Artificial Limbs

Exploring artificial limbs: enhancing lives, overcoming challenges, and fostering independence.

Phantom Limb

Understanding and adapting to phantom limb sensations for amputees.

Amputee Mobility

Promoting independence and mobility for amputees through advanced prosthetic solutions.

Benefits & Assistance

Navigating financial aid and support services for amputees, focusing on benefits and assistance programs.

Sport & Recreation

Promoting active lifestyles for amputees through sports, physical activities, and recreational opportunities.

Caring For Yourself

Guidance on self-care for amputees, covering limb hygiene, prosthesis care, and joint health.

Children & Teens

Supporting children and teens with limb differences: emotional, educational, and social guidance for growth and inclusion.


Enhancing employment prospects for amputees through support, rights protection, and tailored services.

Amputee Support
Coping with Loss

Addressing emotional healing and adaptation for amputees coping with limb loss.

Support Networks

Building community and offering peer support for amputees through regional societies and social networks.


Connecting amputees across New Zealand through supportive regional societies and resources.

Artificial Limbs

Enhancing amputee lives through artificial limbs: adaptation, comfort, and mobility.

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