Exercise is important for every person to live a healthy life. Without regular movement, muscles and other parts of the body can deteriorate causing making it more difficult to get around. There are plenty of exercises and exercise machines designed specifically for people with limited mobility. Here are the five best exercises to keep you active and living a healthy life:
Stretching is as important to the body as normal calisthenics are, especially for wheelchair users. Stretching before exercising or stretching daily can have nearly endless benefits. It helps to increase one’s flexibility, improves circulation and posture, relieves physical and mental stress, boosts energy levels, reduces muscle tension, and increases the range of motion in your joints. Focusing on the areas around the knees, hip flexors, shoulders, and ankles can help relieve tension and stiffness that is common among chair users. Stretch either by yourself or ask a friend or family member to assist you to get a deeper stretch.
2. Strength Training
Using a wheelchair requires extra shoulder and arm strength, so it’s important to work out these areas to avoid injuries. There are plenty of upper body resistance exercises you can do from your chair, either with weights or without, to build up your strength and improve movement. Often times, regular exercise will decrease chronic pain and discomfort. Check out your local gym to see if they have a circuit you can follow. Not only will you get in a great workout, but you could meet other workout buddies who can help you stay motivated. Be sure to engage your abs throughout all workouts to support your back.
There is a certain graceful beauty that accompanies swimming–not only will it make you feel weightless, but it actually allows for a wider range of movement. This will have you feeling freer in the water compared to when you’re working out in your chair. Along with regular swimming, there are plenty of exercises that can be done in the water to further build up strength and mobility.
4. Wheelchair Sprinting
Wheelchair sprinting is competitive and aggressive in a way only sports can be. It increases heart and lung function, which improves overall health and daily living. Keeping your heart-rate up with aerobic exercise can also decrease your chances of developing chronic diseases and improve your mental health. The sport requires strong athleticism and good upper body strength, and the technique of pushing your chair to racing speeds can take time to master. But with time and practice, many people find this to be a rewarding form of exercise.
5. Wheelchair Sports
Everyone loves a little competition, right? This added element can pick up your heart rate even more and get your head into a productive, positive state. Sports turn exercising and working out into something fun so you’re no longer just concentrating on the effort you are putting in. Luckily, there are a plethora of wheelchair sports to choose from such as netball, badminton, and basketball. See what your local recreational center offers and sign up. It’s also a great way to meet new friends in the disabled community.
From stretching and strength-training exercises to full-out competitive sports, the workout options for chair users are almost endless. Find a workout buddy, join a class, and get moving as best you can. Staying active will push your boundaries, increase your physical and mental well-being, and create a supportive community where you can feel at home. Soon enough, your gym day will be your favorite day of the week.
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