If you’re someone who is either temporarily or permanently bound to a wheelchair, you may feel like you cannot exercise in a way that most people can. Honestly, the answer to that is both yes and no. While you may not be able to do things in the exact way that those who have the full use of their legs are able to, the reality is that you can still participate in almost every kind of exercise that you’re interested in. All it takes is a bit of knowledge, some support and a lot of drive and ambition.
Do you want to know more about some of the exercise options that are available to wheelchair bound people? If so, check out some of the choices below.
If your injury has only affected your legs, one of the best workouts that you can do is to get into some form of strength training whether it’s weight lifting, using a seated rowing machine or even utilizing free weights on your arms while you’re going about your daily activities. Not only does it build up your arms and chest, but it helps to tone the core of your body as well.
One of the best things about doing aerobics is that it is a great and fun way to get the necessary amount of cardio exercise for your body. Although aerobic exercising is traditionally associated with lots of leg movement, there is one specific kind that is great for people in wheelchairs. It’s called “pedaling”. This is a type of exercise that requires a hand-powered cycle. With it, you use your arms to keep it in motion in 20-minute intervals. You can usually find them in the workout rooms of most gymnasiums.
Especially if your injury is temporary, water can be seen as an excellent source of physical therapy. The temperature of the water itself can be soothing and the resistance of the water can help to tone your muscles as you prepare to walk again. Make sure to wear a life vest when going into a pool and that you have the assistance of an expert swimmer, but don’t be afraid to use swimming as a viable workout option.
The great thing about both Pilates and yoga is that they teach you how to breathe, center yourself and also how to stretch, which develops your flexibility and endurance. One Pilates exercise that especially good for wheelchair bound people is one that’s called the “spine stretch forward”. With your feet on the floor and hands on your thighs, strengthen your core by tightening your stomach to where it feels like you’re pulling your navel into your spine. As you begin to exhale, slowly move forward, starting with your head. Repeat this cycle at least 3-5 times.
Who said that a wheelchair has to keep you from the sports that you love? There are plenty of intramural and summer teams that cater to the needs of those who are wheelchair bound from basketball and baseball teams to those who are interested in tennis and even golf. Another activity that a lot of people in wheelchairs seem to enjoy is horseback riding. You know the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way?” Well, if we were to modify it to this article, “Where there’s a wheel, there’s all kinds of ways to get things done!” For more information on other forms of exercise that you can do, visit 1800wheelchair.