Senior Health - Wheelchair Exercises

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

If someone is confined to a wheelchair is it still okay to exercise?

Well, that depends solely upon the doctor in charge of the patient.

Depending upon the patient's injury, level of mobility, age and health there are a variety of exercises that may be performed for those confined to a wheelchair - but only the doctor should recommend the types of exercise best for the patient.  

Finding the exercises that work best for you will increase your strength, your muscle tone, and even help you lose weight due to activity which burns calories, builds muscle which takes more calories to support, and which also speed up the metabolism.

As mentioned above, always consult your doctor or physical therapist before attempting an exercise routine to make sure that the exercise doesn't do more harm than good.

With that said, there are two types of exercise that can benefit wheelchair users: Resistance Training and Strength Training. Always get your doctor's approval for activity that you plan to insert into your daily schedule to ensure that it won't render more harm than good.

While the following exercise may work well for one individual, they may not be ideal for another. Therefore, don't attempt before asking your doctor.

Wheelchair Exercises

Here is a short summary of these two exercises.

Resistance Training

Ask your doctor or therapist about using resistant bands. These are large, stretchy bands that can be attached to a door handle or even a wheelchair.

The resistance training involves pulling the bands which works and strengthens the muscles. The resistance bands are sold in low, medium and high resistance grades and are useful in working many areas of the body.

Once the resistance training becomes easy, ask your doctor or therapist about going on to strength training.

Strength Training

This involves the old-fashioned dumb bells which are sold in different weights.

As with any exercise, you'll need to warm up about 10 minutes before and after exercising by doing stretches.

Breathing is key in strength training. As with the resistance training, the weights serve to strengthen the muscles.

There are also videos for sell that actually illustrate different forms of activity - so that might be something to ask your doctor about.

Follow-Up With the These Health Tips

Pair your exercise routine with the following diet tips for even healthier results:

- Try to eat as slowly as possible. Chew your food thoroughly. Enjoy your food.

- For snack time, reach for fresh or frozen fruit.

- Read the labels and measure out serving sizes.

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