As summer ramps up so are the ATP Adventure Trips! These trips are designed for you to be able to challenge yourself in a safe and supported way. Our trips range from outdoor rock climbing to white water rafting to skeet shooting! Our most recent trips include Trekking Trips. These consist of hikes led by trained ATP staff in which we encourage the use of outdoor trekking poles. These poles are largely used by hikers to reduce exercise induced muscle injury during the trip. Trekking poles incorporate your arms and shoulders into the hiking motion, allowing you to use more muscle to propel yourself uphill and to control your descent. The net result is an increase in speed, without an increase in leg soreness. Poles reduce the impact on your legs, knees, ankles, and feet, especially when going downhill. The research that supports the use of Trekking poles states that there is a lower perceived rate of exertion by individuals who use trekking poles-- this means that your brain is perceiving the workload as an easier activity when compared to walking without the poles. The poles also reduce the prominence of injury because using the trekking poles decreases the force placed upon your hips, knees and ankles, while increasing balance, and evolving upper body muscles in a predominantly lower body activity. The use of trekking poles also improves a hikers posture, minimizing muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours after a hike! The correct use of trekking poles reduces muscle damage, assists in maintaining muscle function in the days after a mountain trek, and reduces the potential for subsequent injury. The use of trekking poles is important, but using them with proper technique is also extremely vital to reap the maximum benefits. To start, make sure the poles are the correct height. Have your upper arm tight to the side of your rib cage, then you bend your elbow 90 degrees. The pole should be set at this height and remain here for the duration of the hike. It is also important to make sure you use the poles in a reciprocal fashion, this means you place the left pole forward as you take a step with your right foot and vice versa. By setting up your poles and body this way you are utilizing proper walking posture and decreasing the likelihood of overuse injuries that could occur on a hike!
Posture: elbows bent at 90 degrees
If muscle soreness begins to occur in the upper body, take one of the trekking poles and grab it with both hands shoulder width apart. Raise the pole as high as you can above your head and stretch the low back and shoulders.
If muscle soreness begins to occur in the lower body, take a pole and stretch it across your back and shoulders. Keep your legs straight, bending at the hips, moving your chest towards the ground. As you move lower, you will feel a stretch in the back of your legs and through your low back!
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the brain and spinal cord, which is also known as the central nervous system. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers your nerve fibers and results in problems with communication between your brain and the rest of your body. This disease can cause permanent damage to your nerves. For individuals with MS, staying active is one of the most important things you can do. Exercise can help to improve symptoms, as well as improve fitness, endurance, and strength in your arms and legs. Studies have also shown that exercising can improve:
Bladder and bowel function
Decreasing overall fatigue
The best exercises for individuals with MS
The best MS exercises to stay active are aerobic exercises, stretching, and progressive strength training. It is also important to warm up before beginning exercise--- this can include something as simple as walking or even cycling on a stationary bike!
This entails any exercise that raises your heart rate. This could include things such as walking, jogging, or swimming. Aerobic exercise should be completed at a moderate level; just be cautious not to over-work yourself! It is recommended that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week.
It is recommended that you should stretch for at least 10 minutes each day! Doing this will help you to maintain your range of motion and can work to alleviate symptoms like muscle stiffness or a lack of muscle control. Yoga is also a great way to stretch if you are into that! The following link is a website that gives you a few yoga poses that you can practice yourself at home to improve your balance, walking, and your coordination!
Strength training is not only important to improve your muscular strength, but also to maintain that strength! You can use whatever equipment you are most comfortable with, whether that be weight machines, free weights, or resistance bands. It is recommended to strength train at least twice each week, and to train each muscle group.
Tips for a great workout!
Make sure to stay hydrated- this will help to keep your body temperature low!
Exercise in a space that is cooler and won’t cause you to overheat!
Stretch after your workout too!
Start at low intensity/weight, and go slow!
Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise program!!
Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise: Why MS Patients Should Stay Active. Penn Medicine. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/neuroscience-blog/2017/may/multiple-sclerosis-and-exercise#:~:text=When%20you%20have%20MS%20and,give%20your%20mood%20a%20boost. Published May 1, 2017. Accessed February 15, 2021.
Multiple sclerosis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269. Published June 12, 2020. Accessed February 15, 2021.
Exercise. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Living-Well-With-MS/Diet-Exercise-Healthy-Behaviors/Exercise. Accessed February 15, 2021.
Physiology of disability When thinking about the human body, the spinal cord can be thought of as the control tower of all movements. Without proper spinal cord function, movements can be limited, impaired, or nonexistent. A Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) occurs when a portion or all of the spinal cord or nerve endings of the spinal cord are damaged. The impact of the impairment is dependent on a number of factors including location of damage along the spinal cord, degree of damage done to the spinal cord, and specific nerves that were damaged along the spinal cord. Most human movements would not be possible without the spinal cord. The brain and the spinal cord are considered part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) and work together to receive sensory information from the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS). The PNS is comprised of nerves that run off of the spinal cord between each vertebrae that receive specific sensory information through muscle spindles within the muscle, the golgi-tendon organs which receives input regarding tension from the body’s tendons, and dermatomes which are nerve endings that receive input regarding pressure from the body’s skin. These components of the PNS work together to relay sensory information to the CNS. With this sensory information from the PNS, the CNS is able to sort the sensory information into purposeful impulses which are relayed down the spinal cord to the PNS. When the PNS receives this impulse form the CNS, muscular contraction (tightening or shortening of the muscle) occurs. To create a muscular contraction within a motor unit (muscle fibers belonging to a singular motor neuron) the CNS and PNS are needed. The CNS sends an electrical impulse to the PNS, the PNS then transitions the electrical impulse to an action potential (AP). An action potential is the chemical signal that runs through the muscle fiber of the motor unit where the electrical activity changes within a muscle causing contraction. Without the impulse successfully passing between the CNS and PNS, muscular contraction would not occur. This is called the All-Or-None principle in which a muscle fiber contracts at full strength, or does not contract at all. When damage is done along the spinal cord, the PNS is unable to receive information from the CNS and therefore muscular contraction at and below the level of injury is unlikely to occur. However, the location of injury and severity of injury determine how well the PNS and CNS communicate. Location and severity are two critical factors when assessing an individual with a spinal cord injury and their functional ability levels. The location of the injury determines where the break in CNS and PNS communication will occur along their spinal cord. The signal from the CNS is unable to continue to travel down the CNS at the point of injury. Therefore the PNS will receive no impulse from the CNS. Without this input from the CNS, the PNS is unable to create muscular contraction. In complete spinal cord injuries 90% or more is damaged at the site of injury. If less than 90% of the spinal cord is damaged it is considered to be an incomplete spinal cord injury. Generally speaking, if an individual obtained an upper level spinal cord injury (Cervical, and upper Thoracic region), then all muscle fibers from that point of injury and below are damaged. When injuries occur to the spinal cord below the level of T2 then the individual is considered to be a paraplegic (having full arm function). When the injury to the spinal cord is at or above T2 then the individual is classified as a quadriplegic (decreased function ability of arms, trunk, and legs). Some key locations of spinal cord injuries include the following: ● C1-C4 location: may require a ventilator, have paralysis of arms, hands, legs, and trunk ● C5 location: individual has control of shoulders and biceps, but not hand or wrist ● C6 level: wrist control but no hand function, wrist extension is easier than wrist flexion ● C7 & T1 location : may have some control of hands, no thermoregulation homeostasis (inability to regulate body temperature)loss of bladder and bowel control ● T-2 location: full function of arms and hands, with mild trunk control ● T2-T5 location: have use of Quadratus Lumborum (can be used to aid in hip flexion) ● T6-T12 location: more use of back extensors and abdominal control, good balance in unsupported stated position, and may have ability to stand with adaptive equipment ● C1-T12 locations: loss of bladder and bowel control ● L1-L5 location: impairment in hip and knee flexion and extension, very limited impairment in trunk control ● S1-S5 location: less impairment in hip and knee flexion and extension, can typically stand with adaptive equipment, little to no impairment in trunk stability Physiology of intervention The location of spinal cord injury directly impacts if a muscle fiber is able to contract. To create preferred movements, multiple muscles have to work together (coordinated flexion and elongation). For any specific movement, the body will use muscles as agonists, which contract to complete a majority of the desired movement. The antagonist muscles elongate in opposition to the agonist muscle during a desired movement. If the coordination of the agonist and antagonist muscles does not occur, the desired movement will not be completed or will be completed poorly. The synergist muscles help to stabilize and assist the agonist during a desired movement. With proper spinal cord function, the agonist and synergists muscles contract while the antagonist muscles elongate to create the desired movements. It is crucial to work the synergistic muscles in individuals with SCI to increase their stabilizing strength. In addition to working on muscular strength and muscular endurance stabilizing strength is important to incorporate in exercise prescriptions (ExRx) of a person with a SCI. This is due largely to the fact that these individuals have a decreased ability level within their stabilizing muscles, therefore it is important to attempt to work as many stabilizing exercises into their prescription as possible. People with SCI are often in wheelchairs that provide them with stabilization through the back, arms, and foot plates of their wheelchair. Some activities of daily living (ADLs) can be completed from this position however, others require that an individual has more degrees of freedom to complete the ADL. For example, reaching forward to open a drawer to get out a utensil requires additional stabilizing strength. A person who has worked on their stabilizer muscles in an exercise setting will be more successful in completing these ADLs outside of the exercise setting. To incorporate stabilizer muscles into the exercises of a person with a SCI they can complete exercises from a mat table that does not provide them with the known stability of their wheelchair, thus causing their stabilizing muscles to engage and work harder during exercises (even if these exercises are not stabilizer focused). Engagement of the stabilizer muscles can also be achieved through body weight exercises and the use of adaptive equipment. Purposefully targeting core stabilizers can be achieved through crawling movement patterns. When crawling, one must use stabilization strength in order to transfer weight onto one side of the body while attempting to recruit additional muscles to flex at the hip allowing forward movement on the no weight bearing leg. When one hip moves forward, the body must regain balance with a change in the center of gravity; actions completed by core stabilizing muscles. In addition to the benefits of core stabilization that occurs during exercise, the individual is working to prevent further loss of bone density and creating purposeful compensatory mechanisms.
Physiology of our program A worthwhile exercise program for this population group applies principles and concepts of exercise to individuals with SCIs in a safe, effective, and meaningful way. Through modification and adaptation to exercises one can challenge an individual with a SCI consequently improving their quality of life. A successful way to challenge the body and modify an exercise is to change the leverage angle (LA) at which the exercise is performed. This will change the difficulty or ease at which the exercise is completed. By changing the LA, the agonist is able to remain the targeted muscle due to the fact that a decreased force is needed to complete the desired movement. For example, changing the LA of a pushup for an individual with a mid to lower level SCI they will be able to complete the exercise with proper form and full range of motion (ROM). Once an individual can complete several pushups at a specific LA, it is appropriate to decrease the LA of the pushup. The lower the LA, the greater force required to complete the pushup. The goal of changing LA is to continue to challenge an individual in a safe and effective manner, working towards the completion of a push up with proper form and full ROM at the lowest LA achievable for the individual’s location of injury. A specific principle needed when working with an individual with a spinal cord injury is the use of the stretch-shortening cycle. The stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) occurs when a muscle is stretched / elongated, the receptors in the attached tendons send a reflex to the attached muscle to contract, in order to prevent injury. SSC is used in all ballistic movements. The body of someone with a SCI still possesses reflexes, making the use of incorporating exercises that utilize the SSC critical in their ExRx. Applying the SSC to an individual's ExRx can be achieved through exercises that force muscles to stretch/elongate in order to promote muscular contraction. A successful application of this principle is through bounce squats. *Please note that these need to be conducted in a safe manner for the individual with a SCI, meaning a variety of modifications may be necessary (ie. harness, resistance bands, personal lifts, hand support, etc.).* When completing a bounce squat, the quadriceps muscles are elongated/ stretched. Due to this stretching, receptors in the Patella Tendon send a reflex to the quadricep muscle causing contraction. Progression in this exercise is achieved by decreasing the resistance (unloading force) support needed. When working with an individual with a SCI, it is necessary to decrease the amount of assistance during a weight bearing exercise, rather than increasing the output required to complete the exercise. This is largely due to the fact that the CNS and PNS are still not communicating, instead we are focusing on the use of reflexes present in the body to complete the desired movement. Compensatory mechanisms can be a beneficial concept to understand the application of when writing an ExRx for someone with a SCI. This concept states that the body will overachieve in one area to compensate for failures in another. For example, the Quadratus Lumborum is typically used as a back extensor muscle, however someone with a SCI is able to use it to aid in hip flexion. The ability to engage in assisted ‘hip flexion’ can be utilized in crawling or walking with assistive devices. The intersection of all of these concepts is through walking with the support of assistive devices. For example, an individual with SCI would be able to stand from their chair (SSC), then utilize their triceps to decrease the weight through their lower body (changing LA), then incorporate stabilizing strength to stand in the assistive device, then must incorporate other supporting muscles such as the Quadratus Lumborum to use during hip flexion, and once progress is made, the amount of support from an assistive device can be decreased. Client progress When incorporating all of this information, great client success can be achieved with a lot of hard work, determination, and skilled exercise physiologists to create and modify the ExRx. One individual with a lower level SCI that has been following an ExRx that hits all of the components of this article has been able to dramatically improve his quality of life. When starting this ExRx, this individual did not have the ability to walk. Through applying the concept of changing LA he increased his tricep strength. This tricep strength was achieved through completing pushups on his knees with his hands on a 12 inch plyometric box. Then progressed to being able to stand and complete push ups with his hand on a 36 inch plyometric box. After the physiological adaptations occurred and the LA of the box was decreased accordingly, the individual was able to successfully complete over 20 pushups with full range of motion with his feet on the ground and hands also on the ground. Through the focus of proper pushup form and progression, the individual with a SCI was working to improve his stabilization strength as well. By way of improved tricep and stabilizer strength he was able to stand upright inside of an assistive walking device (walker). He recruited other muscles in order to flex at the hip but also increased his quad strength through SSC by completing bounce squats consistently. Due to all of the hard work and physical adaptations, this same individual is now walking over 30 feet with no assistive devices other than an ankle brace.
Do you ever feel like you just can’t get anything done today, or that you just want to do nothing except binge your favorite show on Netflix and eat? Yeah, me too. Sometimes our motivation just isn’t there, especially when it comes to exercising. Whether you need to find the motivation to start exercising, or you just need that extra push to get you off the couch, there are multiple ways to get yourself back on track to a better, healthier you! First, let’s discuss the different types of motivation that exist; extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation that you find from external factors or outside sources, leading to an external gain or reward. For example, you may be motivated to exercise to look better in a bikini for the summer, to be able to fit into a dress or a tux for your loved one’s wedding, or to be able to carry your grandkids again. All of these examples create a sense of reward or gain from outside factors. Intrinsic motivation, on the other hand, is the motivation that you find within yourself. For example, you may be motivated to exercise because it makes you feel better, it helps relieve some stress, or because you simply enjoy doing it.
From these examples of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, it is clear to see that extrinsic motivators typically create a timeline, as they are set toward a specific goal (e.g., fitting into a dress for a wedding). However, intrinsic motivators are derived more from self-reflection and emotions. This is why intrinsic motivators tend to play a larger role at helping you achieve your goals and promote long-term success. Therefore, if you have more intrinsic motivators than extrinsic motivators, you are more likely at being successful in achieving your goals.
To ignite your motivation and determine which of your motivators are extrinsic and intrinsic, try journaling or jotting down all of your motivators for exercising. Once you’ve dug deep into your mind and found all of your motivators, make a table of extrinsic motivators vs. intrinsic motivators to see how many of each that you have. Writing these motivators down is a great visual tool not only to see if you should create more intrinsic motivators, but to burn in the back of your head for when you need that reminder of why.
So, how do you create intrinsic motivators? There are a few ways to do this:
Find exercises that you actually enjoy doing, and don’t be afraid to try new things!
Ex.) hiking, biking, dancing, swimming, boxing, etc.
Try a fun exercise and jot down how you feel afterwards – pay attention to the positive feelings that you recognize and try to keep them in mind
Need that extra push to get you off the couch? Sometimes we feel lazy or unmotivated and just need a little extra help to get us into a better mood. Use your external resources!
Motivational quotes – you can find these on Google, Pinterest, or basically anywhere on the internet. Find one that sticks with you and put a picture of it as your wallpaper on your phone, write it on your calendar, or add a sticky note of it on your mirror, so you can be reminded every day.
Motivational videos – simply type in “fitness motivation” on Google or YouTube and you’ll find lots of videos with motivational speakers to amp you up. These will make you want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with ATP in July. (For more information on the Mt. Kilimanjaro trip, click on the “MORE...” tab and then the “KILIMANJARO” tab on the home page.)
Scripture – what’s more comforting and inspirational than the Word of God? Leaf through your Bible at home or Google some motivational scriptures and treat it like the motivational quotes that were mentioned above to add faith into your motivation.
Journal – when you’re feeling low, jot down your motivations to remind yourself why you want to start moving. Once these positive thoughts and goals get back into your head, you’ll want to make them happen.
Listen to music – turn on some pump-up music or your favorite songs that make you feel happy and confident. Get yourself in a good mood and get on your feet!
Anymore, it’s nearly impossible to watch the news, open a newspaper (yes some of us still do that) or just catch up on current events without realizing in some way, shape or form, the youth of our nation, more accurately, right in our backyard are in severe trouble and facing challenges and circumstances that are truly heartbreaking.
Beyond the challenges and circumstances are the temptations that are so readily available at any given moment. Unlike the older generation, the current youth are exposed to unprecedented speed and access of data and communication. Right in their pocket is a gateway to bullying, drug solicitation or debauchery. Like any other write-up, we could dive into the statistics about poverty, hunger, drug addiction, broken families and hopelessness; we have the research and data, and its immensely important, but for now we’d like to focus on a solution and “call to action” if you will.
ATP currently has two programs that focus on at risk youth in the area. Our After School Program and the ATP and Me Mentorship program. All the kids we work with are classified as being an “extreme-risk-youth”. These kids are receiving a free/reduced breakfast, lunch and dinner from the school in addition to getting homework and academic assistance. Whatever their situation or circumstance, these kids need and more than deserve, our help.
It’s my thought that the vast majority of the issues we face in America can be solved by rolling up our sleeves and actually working towards solutions rather than yelling loudest or typing fastest. We need to bite louder than we bark!
So how can you be part of the solution?
Commit - If this issue speaks to you, make the decision that it’s time to get off the sideline and bring your A-game.
Take an inventory - What in your life do you have abundance of or have to offer? We all have something. Maybe you’re blessed with finances but don’t have a lot of time. Support a program. OR the reverse and you find yourself with time to spare and can devote it to being a mentor. Maybe you have a skillset like coaching, teaching, or a trade that you can share. The sky’s the limit, but take the time to inventory yourself and apply it.
Take Action - This isn’t a pitch for ATP’s programs. The fact of the matter is we’d love to have you, your support and if you are ready to take action; we can certainly help. But, the point of this message is the call to action. Go to your school districts, local library or sports associations-whatever you can, just get started! The children of America and more specifically Western Pa/Eastern OH, need your help and what you have to offer. Every child deserves a chance and positive influence in their lives. A small investment from your life could have eternal impact on theirs.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No- it’s Superman! We’ve all heard that before. Most everyone is familiar with the iconic “S”, or the gentleman dressed as a bat who patrols the night. The intrigue of superheroes has fascinated and captivated society for decades. Starting as comic books, then cartoon shows and now major box office hits; with the most recent marvel movie becoming the highest grossing film of all time!
There’s something about heroes that draws us in- that provokes our minds and peaks our interests. I personally am a huge fan of the popular movies and I’d speculate that part of the fascination is the respect for sacrifice and using what we have to serve a purpose greater than ourselves.
What some folks miss is that the heroes aren’t just in the movies. They don’t need super powers and come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Most don’t even like the term. That humility even further demonstrates the type of people they are. They are the people who rise up and serve their fellow people when they are needed most. ATP recently had the absolute pleasure of being in a room full of such people. Our founder Jon Kolb was fortunate to be a participant in a panel discussion at the Heinz History Center, while they hosted Vietnam War veteran Rocky Bleier; to present their new Vietnam War exhibit as well as Rocky Bleier’s awesome book “Fighting Back”- you can visit Rocky’s website here. The panel included Marine and Steeler great, John Banaszak, Dr. Ben Stahl of the Veterans Leadership Program, and Dick Hughes, who although a conscientious objector, was actually one of the last Americans to leave Vietnam after the war and continues to serve the local children to this day. The night revolved around each person’s different experiences during that time and included a major theme of service.
One of the many impactful moments of the evening was when all veterans in the crowd were asked to stand and be recognized. The men and women present who served our country stood to a round of applause. However, no applause is loud enough or long enough to fully express the appreciation they deserve. The fact of the matter is, as mentioned in the panel discussion, 1% of our nation fights to defend the freedom that the other 99% enjoy. These 1% are the ones who answer the call to serve a purpose higher than themselves when they were needed most. Each and every veteran displays a level of sacrifice and heroism that far too often goes unnoticed.
The reality remains that the experiences and circumstances our veterans face in such service, can leave them on the wrong side of hope when it is all said and done.
Each of us has the ability to serve. Also, service can look different to each of us. ATP’s Veterans Program was developed out of a need and call. While thousands of wonderful organizations exist to assist American veterans, not all of them exist to advance a veteran’s ability to experience a healthy, functional and physical life again. Our mission is to use our gifts to empower veterans and provide hope through movement.
Our veterans are those who step up when they are needed most. They are those who serve a purpose greater than themselves and lay it all on the line for each and every one of us. They fought so we can live free. It’s time for us all to step up, fight for them and serve those who served.
*ATP’s Veterans Program is dedicated to improving a veterans life through purposeful physical training, to provide freedom through movement and adventure and perform the tasks of daily living without the need of assistance. Your help can go a long way towards this mission. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to support ATP’s Veterans Program or donate here.
Can you do me a favor? If you would, please take a moment, stop and think about every little movement you’ve made in the last three minutes or so that resulted with you here on the ATP blog reading these words. Let’s take that a step further and think about your morning routine, or your favorite weekend activity. Lastly just take a moment to praise God for it. It amazes me how unbelievably cool and complex the human body is and how much has to happen just for my eyes to blink.
I say all this to point out that movement makes the world go around. Quite literally- but its also foundational to our way of life as human beings! For thousands of years folks have studied movement in countless different capacities. Beyond the physical act, movement also means something completely different to each and every one of us.
To one person it could mean relaxation by hopping in the car and going for a drive. For another it can mean Wii Bowling, because the house balls at the local ally seem a little dirty. It can be a hobby, a way of life or can even be taken for granted.
ATP’s meaning for movement is engrained in each and everything we do. Its our culture, which stems from being pivotal to our foundation. So what does movement mean for ATP? Glad you asked. While the below is not a comprehensive list, we’d like to share 4 major components with you.
Movement is: Development - From the moment a person is born, the milestones of their early months and years normally revolve around movement. Think about it- first is holding their head up, then rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, walking, then it’s off to the races! From the very beginning to the very end of our lives, it plays a huge role in our development as people; and we strive to help every step of the way.
Freedom - Each and every one of us has something holding us back from doing some of the things we wish we could. Maybe it’s obesity, age, injury, fear, doubt or laziness- whatever it is, the right movement gives us the ability to break those chains, crush our goals and live free from what held us back before.
Inspiration - We at ATP are blessed to work with people who have been told movement is not an option for them. Bound to limited or no mobility, just the ability of turning their head is life-changing. They embody mental fortitude, grit and perseverance. To conquer such challenges and exude such hope is an absolute inspiration.
Purpose - It’s in our name and an ultimate goal. We all have purpose on this earth through God our creator and praise Him for it. We also live in a fallen world that can put us on the wrong side of hope. Through movement, we can continue to develop, break free of what holds us back, be inspired and inspire and ultimately, regain hope and purpose in our lives.
Of course, movement is not the only way to obtain the above. But with the ability to make such an impact in the lives of others, its our mission to share it with the world! Move with purpose today.
The GAP…No, not the ever-popular clothing store with quality items at reasonable prices - We’re talking the Greater Allegheny Passage bike trip today folks. Much like the Oregon Trail of old, the GAP is an outlet for those seeking to pioneer a new, in search for adventure.
Okay, that may be a bit dramatic. The reality is the Greater Allegheny Passage is quite a popular trail for bikers, hikers, trail runners etc. to pioneer from Pittsburgh, all the way down to Cumberland, Maryland. They can then catch a connecting trail to our Nation’s Capital. The GAP Totals 150 miles one way and is overflowing with beautiful scenery, quaint trail towns and checked bucket lists.
So why are we talking about the GAP? Well as you may have seen within our various social media posts- ATP’s very own Caleb Kolb and Sarah Watkins recently set out on an exciting adventure and conquered the trek. The somewhat impromptu journey is a fine example of living out what you firmly believe. Let me explain- about one month prior to departure, Caleb and Sarah were at REI purchasing gear for some of our programs (check out our programs page here). If you’re not familiar with REI its an awesome store for all things camping, hiking, outdoors etc. They stumbled upon a brochure for the GAP and were instantly intrigued. Without skipping a beat, they knew they had to crush it, before even discussing it. Aside from the challenge of finding four free days, they also realized they’d have to camp the whole thing, battle the elements, and make sure their bikes could handle it. Most would have tabled the adventure for next year, but where’s the fun in that?
I urge you to listen to our founder, Jon Kolb discuss where the name- Adventures in Training with a Purpose comes from. Jon describes adventure as setting out on a challenge, without knowing the outcome. In discussing adventure, he talks about standing at the base of a mountain, being able to look at it and, by the grace of God, conquering it.
That’s the mentality of our founder, leadership and those we work with. Every day is an adventure to conquer and we need to push ourselves to new heights- so no matter what future mountain, trail, or giant you may face, no matter how big or small, you can look at it and smile with the anticipation of your next conquest. Be adventurous- and stay tuned for Caleb and Sarah’s rundown of their amazing trip!