Regardless of age, including moderate exercise in your daily routine can lead to increased flexibility and many other benefits. For people in wheelchairs, daily movement can help increase blood circulation, improve posture and spine stability.
The majority of movement people who use wheelchairs happens in their upper body, such as the triceps and shoulders. As these muscles are separate from each other, it’s important to avoid imbalances and injuries by strengthening and stretching the muscles on each side equally. This can be done by using unilateral (one side at a time) or bilateral (both sides together) exercises.
In addition to keeping your physical form healthy, you can also improve your mental and emotional state through joint mobility exercises as well. Especially after a catastrophic injury, such as a devastating car accident, exercise can create mood-boosting chemicals in your brain, such as endorphins, that also help to relieve stress and enhance positive thinking. If you’re looking for ways to keep your upper body mobile and flexible, here are 3 exercises you can do every day to improve your joint mobility.
This stretch is great for anyone experiencing poor shoulder function and neck pain. It works several muscles including anterior deltoids, rotator cuff, and other upper body muscles.
Using a straight stick, such as a broom or a mop, hold the stick parallel to the ground with both hands using an overhand grip. Keep your arms straight and slowly bring the stick over your head as far as possible. Concentrate on maintaining good posture and balance and repeat up to 5 times.
Neck Half Circles
Good neck mobility can be frequently ignored despite how often we use our necks. By not stretching this part of your body, it can lead to neck, head, and upper back pain.
With your hands on your lap, tilt your head to one side until you feel a light pull. Roll your head forward and bring your chin to your chest slowly. You should only be going as far as you can without experiencing any pain. Continue rolling your head to the other side until you feel a slight stretch. This exercise should be done slowly and smoothly for the best results.
As simple as they may seem, band pull-aparts are great for building a stronger back. This movement helps stabilize the muscles in your shoulder joints, ultimately leading to improved posture.
For this exercise, take a medium to light resistance band and hold it out in front of your chest with palms facing down, parallel to the ground. Next, slowly pull your arms apart, with your arms forming a straight horizontal line. Slowly return to the starting position by allowing your arms to move back in front of your chest. Looking for a simple way to spice up this exercise? Turn your palms up to give the rotator cuff more of a workout.
Joint mobility is, unfortunately, one of the most overlooked areas of exercise that also has the biggest impact on overall health. By adding in these 3 simple but powerful exercises, you can greatly improve the quality of your life. Remember, with any new exercise routine, consult your doctor or physical therapist before starting.
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