Exercising offers many physical and psychological benefits and as a wheelchair user it is important that you strive to get an appropriate amount of exercise to help promote a healthy lifestyle and an overall positive outlook. Not getting proper exercise can attribute to loss of muscle tone, an increase in blood clots, and a higher risk of contracting illnesses. Exercise also allows a wheelchair user to move around and get out of their chair, which can reduce the risk of painful body sores and aches. But as a wheelchair user you may wonder where to start when developing a new exercise routine. Aeroflow Healthcare has all the answers to your questions below.
When starting out a new exercise regimen it is important to keep your motivation high. One of the best ways to ensure your motivation stays soaring is to enlist the help of a workout buddy. Having a friend, spouse, or family member encouraging you to exercise each day can greatly increase your compliance. It is also a good idea to have a set schedule for exercising, for example each Monday you can work out arms and abs then on Tuesday it’s time for legs. You may also want to have a time each day that you and your workout buddy meet up to exercise, whether it is in the morning before breakfast and work or in the evenings after dinner, having a set time will make it more likely that you stick to your workout routine.
An article in the LA Times discussed ways to stay fit in a wheelchair with stars of the Sundance Channel’s ‘Push Girls’. One of the stars of the show, Mia, states that it is important to be healthy throughout the day; this mindset can help ensure that you will complete your workout and ultimately lead a healthier lifestyle. Mia also states that she likes to take time at lunch each day to roll around the block or the parking lot just to get in some exercise. Tiphany, another star of ‘Push Girls’ says that she likes to get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise each day. One of the main struggles many wheelchair users face is weight gain due to lack of movement; getting cardio in each day can greatly decrease your chances of gaining weight and having to upgrade to larger chairs. Tiphany recommends joining group exercise classes that allow you to get in and out of your chair.
If you don’t have immediate access to a gym or group exercise classes, there are many different exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home. Before and after your workout it is important that you stretch for at least five minutes to prevent any injuries or straining. You can start off your workout with some cardio exercises such as rolling outside or you can try these aerobic workouts in your chair. It is also a great idea to add in some push-ups to really get your heart rate up. If you are just starting out with exercising, you can start out with a few minutes of cardio each day then slowly build your way up until you’re at 30 minutes or more of cardio per day.
After getting in your daily cardio, you can start to work on your individualized muscle groups. There are many different core exercises that can be done from your chair and you can also consider using a resistance band to get in some strength training. Tying your resistance band to a door knob or sturdy piece of furniture can allow you to do many types of core and arms exercises. You can also invest in some small dumbbells to work your shoulders, arms, core, and back.
There are a great number of exercises and routines that can be done in your wheelchair. To see more about the types of exercises that can benefit a wheelchair user check out some of these sites:
Remember, you should always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine. Get started with your new healthy lifestyle today!