Many people who are confined to wheelchairs still have upper body strength that can be maintained and even increased through the use of wheelchair exercises. A wheelchair workout does a lot for both the body and the psyche. As it provides an all over fitness, exercises and workout routines have been developed specifically for people who must depend on the use of wheelchairs. Famous exercise gurus have even developed routines specifically for people bound to wheelchairs, even though they are workouts that anyone can do if they choose to.
Why Do Wheelchair Exercises?
People who are confined to wheelchairs day after day can become bored, restless, and uncomfortable. A person can only stand to sit like that for so long before it starts taking its toll. A wheelchair workout can be the perfect way to alleviate these aggravations. In addition, the proper exercise routine can keep your body toned, increase your upper body strength, improve mobility and flexibility, work to make the heart and lungs stronger, and will help control weight. These special exercises work to relax the shoulder, neck and back strain that many people in wheelchairs have to go through. The proper wheelchair exercises can do much to improve your over all health as well as problems specific to wheelchair users.
Exercises in a Wheelchair Workout
Before you begin any workout routine, you should talk to your doctor and physical therapist first to make sure that the routine is a proper one for you. Each body has a different situation and needs exercises that fit with the circumstances. This is why it is very important that you have exercises unique to your situation and your body’s needs.
When undertaking wheelchair exercises there are some things you need to remember in order to make it a safe and effective workout.
· Before and after your workout, do 5 – 10 minutes of stretches.
· Use correct posture.
· When using free weights, begin with a lighter warm up weight. Gradually increase the weight between sets.
· Exhale as you lift and inhale as you lower the weights.
· Drink enough water.
· At least 1 hour prior to your wheelchair workout, eat a snack or light meal.
· If you start to feel lightheaded or faint, stop immediately and rest.
Part of your workout will most likely include some resistance training by using large, stretchy rubber bands called resistance bands. These are secured to a pole, door handle, hook or the arm of the wheelchair. They are then pulled away or towards you to work your muscles. Resistance bands make it possible to do leg and elbow extensions, trunk and shoulder rotations, neck, back, and shoulder pull downs. The bands are typically available in low, medium and higher resistances.
Strength training may be another part of your wheelchair exercises. This can be done by using free weights, dumb bells, or fitness machines. However, this wheelchair workout should only be performed when the resistance training exercises have become too easy.
If you aren’t on an exercise program yet, don’t hesitate to get started on one. Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean that you can’t live a healthy lifestyle. That includes a workout routine. Give your doctor a call and see what sort of exercises can be incorporated into full regular routine for you. Since you want it to be a safe one for you, it’s important that you follow the regimen to the letter. Do each exercise the way you are instructed. Never try to do too much or too little, as one could be hurtful and the other a waste of time. However, if you have just the right plan made for you, it will have you feeling great in no time.