When a health condition or injury puts you in a wheelchair, you face unique challenges in keeping your body physically fit. It’s a fact that exercise improves the quality of life. Workouts, done at any level, can help you feel better and healthier in body, mind and spirit.
Set yourself up for success by keeping exercise equipment close by, in rooms where you spend the most time. Here are some wheelchair workout suggestions that will help you do just that, with your doctor’s approval:
Work on flexibility: Stretch your muscles before any exercise routine. Flexibility helps to prevent the possibility of repetitive stress and other injuries, increases your range of motion and just feels good. Practice yoga. Bend and twist your torso and arms or legs with slow calming breaths. With the help of an assistant, try some exercises lying down, in addition to those done in a wheelchair.
Use resistance: Resistance bands, also called fitness bands, can help you become both stronger and more flexible. To use these large elastic bands, attach them to your wheelchair, a doorknob or a sturdy piece of furniture. Exercise arms and/or legs, depending on your movement abilities.
Become stronger: Arm and/or leg lifts and other workout moves can be done using just your own body weight. Progress to handheld, wrist or ankle weights when it feels right and in consultation with your physician or physical therapist. Or just improvise with cans from the cupboard.
Get staying power: Build endurance with cardio, and get your heart going with a wheelchair workout. Try push-ups, pushing against the arms of your chair, even if you aren’t able to lift off the seat. The repetitive effort of wheelchair push-ups or leg lifts and related movements help to build muscle, as well. Swimming pool exercise sessions also provide an aerobic workout and may be available at the local sports club or YMCA/YWCA. Hand cycles, also called ergometers, are available at some gyms and physical therapy locations or for use in the home.
Questions about wheelchair fitness or exercise equipment? Talk to the professionals at MAR-J Medical Supply. Visit our website or give us a call.