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Fitness in a Wheelchair

By HERWriter
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Fitness related image Photo: Getty Images

If you're in a wheelchair, whether your disability is temporary or permanent, movement is important to your health and well-being.

Your reasons for being in the chair are going to determine to a great extent what type of movement is possible for you. But it's important to make the most of your strengths and protect your weak areas.

Be sure to check with your doctor about any exercise program you are considering. You may want to see a physical therapist or personal trainer to ensure your safety in your workout regime.

Exercises to strengthen your back, shoulders and neck will help to combat the strain of maneuvering a chair every day. Make a point of stretching and warming up for about ten minutes before your workout and again afterward.

Resistance training and strength training are both possible from a wheelchair. Resistance bands fastened to a pole, hook or door handle can be grasped and pulled every which way.

Bands can also be fastened to the arms of your wheelchair. The bands can be used for back, neck and shoulder pull downs, elbow and leg extensions and rotations of shoulders and trunk.

According to Thewheelchairsite.com, dumbbells, fitness machines and free weights are the logical next step after you've gotten well along with resistance training.

These are great tools when properly handled to build strength, but they can cause some real damage if you don't have proper guidance from someone who has training and experience with people in wheelchairs and weights.

It's now possible to find exercise machines specifically for people in wheelchairs such as hand-cyclers. There are workout videos for wheelchair users, many of them produced by medical professionals.

And in the last decade, gyms for people in wheelchairs have begun to appear, with equipment that has been carefully and specifically chosen for this population.

Consider looking into yoga exercises specifically meant for people in wheelchairs. Consult with an expert in yoga who have experience with people confined to wheelchairs before trying these yoga poses.

Being active in your wheelchair will give your greater flexibility and strength. It will make your heart and lungs stronger and help you to regulate your weight.

Increased activity will increase your blood circulation, which is beneficial for your brain. It's especially important for someone confined to a wheelchair to get the blood moving.

Your thought processes can become sharper and clearer and your ability to focus can sharpen. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins which can lift your mood and can reduce awareness of pain.


Wheelchair Exercises

Wheelchair Exercises and Fitness

Wheelchair Exercises for the Hamstring

Wheelchair Exercise - How To Exercise From A Sitting Position - Nurse's Guide

Reviewed July 7, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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