If you are in a wheelchair you may think it is just too hard to exercise, as things you may be used to doing just won’t work now, but that just isn’t the case. In fact, you can do many things to exercise your body and reap the rewards that exercise brings to your life.
We have all head the benefits of exercise: it can reduce stress, it increases flexibility and mobility, it increases your body awareness and muscle strength and it helps to maintain a good fitness level. It is also great for circulation, can stop blood clots from forming and helps with spine stability and posture, and let’s face it, exercising just feels good and makes you feel good about yourself, mentally and physically.
Resistance training is used by athletes of the professional and not so professional levels alike and can be modified just a bit to work for those in a wheelchair as well. The best thing is that resistance bands come in a variety of strengths so you can start small and build up to the resistance you want. Simply tie one end to a doorknob or other stable object and you can do leg and arm extensions, lat pull downs, or rowing exercises quite easily, just make sure the brakes are on before you begin!
Wheelchair bound athletes can also take on strength training right from their chair, just make sure that you do a proper warm up of stretches before and a proper cool down after to avoid injury. If you are able, push-ups are possible from a chair. Simply use the arm rests to pull your body up and gently back down again in five repetition sets. You can increase the number of sets that you do as your tolerance for the exercise grows.
Another good exercise is overhead stretches where you sit straight and extend your arms up while taking in breath. Lock your fingers and turn those palms towards the ceiling while exhaling and push the hands slightly backwards. Hold for a few seconds and again, do in repetitions of five to start. You can always increase the number whenever you want, but start small.
Free weights for bicep curls and lateral raises are also great ideas for exercising in a wheelchair, again, start small and increase the weight as you see fit.
Never feel you can’t exercise just because you are in a wheelchair, with just a little modification you can do anything you put your mind to!