In the last few years people had to find alternative ways to stay in shape due to the closure of gyms and sports clubs for the better part of a year. For wheelchair users, this was a particularly challenging effort, if not for wheel chair exercises.
According to a World Health Organization survey, 16% of the world’s population—1.3 billion people—have some form of disability. But disabilities aren’t the only factors that make working out demanding, and knowing where to begin is hard.
Fortunately, many personal trainers have created wheel chair exercise regimens and fitness for seniors and persons with impairments. If you want to get started with wheel chair exercises, this article has the information you can use.
Injury Prevention to Ensure a Safe Wheel Chair Exercise
Exercise injuries are common, more so when you have limited mobility. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability, in collaboration with Beneficial Designs Inc., has created a guideline to help individuals stay safe during their wheelchair exercise routines. Some of them are.
Wear Your Special Medication I.D
Consider wearing an identifiable special medication card. It is helpful in situations where problems can occur during your exercise.
Check Your Medications
Ensure that your medication doesn’t react negatively to your ability to perform exercise.
Keep your body hydrated. The recommended amount of liquid for fluid replenishment is 16 ounces. 6 to 8 ounces prior to exercise, every 15 minutes while exercising, and a half-liter for each pound that is lost when exercising.
Know Your Body’s Limitations
Stop exercising if you feel pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, or cold hands. The best method to prevent injury is to pay attention to your body. Limit your exercise sessions to 5 or 10 minutes and rather work out more frequently if you consistently feel discomfort after 15 minutes of activity, for instance.
Upper Body Wheel Chair Exercises for Motion
A manual wheelchair needs to be moved with much upper-body strength and endurance. It’s vital to support these components and the supporting muscles inside the chest, back, and core. This is to make your daily tasks simpler and more fun. It even lowers the chance of injury to sensitive places like the shoulder joints or overworked arm muscles.
Try the following exercises to increase your range of motion, upper-body strength, and general well-being.
1. Reverse Butterfly
Grip the band in both hands while performing this exercise, keeping your arms straight before you so your shoulders align with the band. Stretch the band till it meets your chest while maintaining straight arms and spreading your hands apart. Some might be able to go further in the past.
Hold for two counts, then slowly return to the starting position with straight arms. To reach 2-3 sets, based on your level of fitness, repeat this 10–12 times more. If necessary, you could always begin with 8–10 repetitions. A pulley machine could also be used for this kind of exercise.
2. Chest Extensions
Spread your hands out so they are lined in front of your shoulders, and hold the middle of the band with both hands at the level of your shoulders. The band should have a little give to it.
Extend your arms to the sides, slightly bending your elbows while expanding your chest and contracting your shoulder blades. Move back to shoulder distance apart after holding for two counts. Do this ten times. When finished, roll five rotations in front of you and five in reverse.
3. Front Punches
Hold your fists close to your chin while bending your elbows. Continue to tuck your elbows under your ribs. With your right fist, strike the opponent while rotating your torso toward the punch. Pull your arm back quickly, then shift to punch with your left fist. Continue throwing quick jabs for 20 counts (10 on each side). When finished, roll five rotations in front of you and five in reverse.
Wheel chair Leg Exercises for Strengthening Your Lower Body
Include a variety of leg exercises in addition to upper body strength training to boost energy and muscle strength. Your general health will improve due to strong muscles since they protect your joints and promote bone density. Here are some strength training exercises for wheelchair users focusing on the lower body:
1. Lower Leg Raises
This exercise strengthens the quadriceps and increases knee joint mobility. Do this exercise without any weight at first. You can add an ankle weight to the working leg as the activity gets easier to increase the resistance and make it slightly harder.
Avoid the urge to move too quickly and kick the leg high. It needs to be done carefully and gently. Lower the foot back down until it is flat to ensure you have performed the full range of motion.
2. Leg Extension
This isometric workout focused on increasing muscle pressure without overextending the muscle. Sit straight, grab your armrest, and slowly raise one foot upward. To create muscle tension, stretch your leg with your foot flexed towards the shin. Bring the foot back to rest gradually and repeat. Repeat the technique with the other foot.
3. Toe Taps
Sit up with your feet flat on the ground and your back straight. Tilt your toes upwards and then downward, back to the floor. Repeat several times.
Put one leg straight out in front of you while keeping the other foot flat on the ground to make the exercise more difficult. Repeatedly lift and lower your toes. Repeat with the second leg, returning the foot to the floor.
Wheel Chair Exercises to Increase Core Stability
The constant pushing motion of wheelchair users puts much stress on the chest, arms, and shoulders, but the core and back muscles may deteriorate. Exercises that build core strength can help prevent some injuries while enhancing balance, posture, and quality of life. Continue reading to find out more about workouts for core strength.
Anchor your resistance band behind you and turn the other way to begin. The band should be as high as the back of your head, preferably higher. You have a few choices for the starting posture of this sitting ab crunch. The first method is to grab both ends of the band and bend your arms to hold the band slightly above your shoulders. Or, you can lay your hands on your head while holding the two ends of the band.
Lean forward and to the left (approximately 45 degrees from the center) in a steady, controlled manner while slightly curling your spine and contracting your abdominal muscles. After that, slowly revert to your starting position. Repeat the process on the right side.
Sit upright in your wheelchair, with your shoulders back and down and your arms by your sides. Your upper arm should be next to your ear. Engage your core and swing your left hand out to the side and upward until it points to the ceiling with your palm facing right.
While maintaining this position for your arm, begin to sag to the right at the waist until a “C” shape is formed. When you feel a decent stretch in your left side, slowly push your right arm toward the floor while in this position. Hold for a short while before returning to the beginning position and doing it again on the opposite side.
Learning Wheel Chair Exercises Through Training Videos
A quick YouTube search for “wheelchair exercise videos” will give you videos with wheelchair users and physical therapists. Understand and respect your body’s comfort level like any exercise training program. Avoid overextending, overcommitting, or lifting yourself during your wheelchair workout. The ideal approach to strengthen your body while exercising while seated is to move slowly yet steadily.
Older people who still have some use of their legs may be told in these tutorials to flex specific leg muscles while lifting with their arms. Others may be interested in wheelchair-specific core workouts, but a spinal cord injury or another illness may restrict their range of motion. Pick the difficulty level that you find most comfortable.
Wheel Chair Exercises with a Trainer
A trainer will help you adjust your routine if something isn’t working for you. Early on, until you feel comfortable and strong enough, it’s good to have support to help you learn what is both safe and demanding enough for you. If you want a trainer to guide you on your wheelchair exercise journey, find a gym near you!
Maintain Your Health with Wheel Chair Exercises
Being physically fit isn’t only for abled bodies; disabled people can now adapt exercises for wheelchair bound into their daily routines. Whether you plan to get a trainer or begin your journey alone, it doesn’t matter. You can make no mistakes when you take measures to improve your health. In the end, it starts with you.
If you are someone looking to find a career in helping impaired people with their wheelchair exercise, what are you waiting for? Get your career started and obtain a wheelchair exercises certification today. Become a special needs trainer and sign up to save 50% off on your enrollment. Help create a more inclusive and accessible environment in wellness and fitness for individuals with disabilities.