Let's do a deep dive on how to be a healthy wheelchair user. In a world full of deliciously unhealthy foods, staying healthy is not an easy lifestyle to take up. Similarly, being healthy as a wheelchair user in a world of delicious unhealthy foods is an even difficult lifestyle to pursue. A common problem amongst wheelchair users is obesity, which is something every wheelchair user must avoid.
Some started using wheelchairs at birth, while for some, being in a wheelchair came later in life after a mishap, and for some, it may have come due to an illness. However, being in a wheelchair is nothing to be ashamed of or disheartened about.
Problems related to weight gain are often reported in wheelchair users. Whereas some also suffer from mental health issues more than others. Despite all this, this not necessarily has to be your condition. The following good health tips make it possible for a wheelchair user to live a happy and satisfying life. Let's get started on how to be a healthy wheelchair user.
1. Engage in Cardiovascular Exercise
Engaging in cardiovascular exercises is beneficial for your heart and lungs. The goal is to keep exercising until your heart rate rises, and you are warm enough to start sweating. Such exercises include but are not limited to swimming, playing basketball, or wheelchair sprint, which every wheelchair user must do regularly.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Another simple health tip is to get a good night’s sleep. The first problem which usually arises is shifting on the bed from the wheelchair. Still, it can be resolved by adjusting the wheelchair according to the bed’s height and moving the armrests upwards to make it easy for the caretaker to lift, slide and shift the wheelchair user on the bed. Using comfy pillows and cushions can help in finding a comfortable position so as to obtain a good night’s sleep.
3. Stretch for physical health
Maintain your mobility by keeping your joints flexible through stretching, which requires you to hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds. A few stretches each day incorporated in your routine ensures that your body is comfortable when being moved in multiple directions and improves bodily circulation. Stretching is one of the best health tips for women. Stretching is beneficial and much needed for all wheelchair users.
4. Reduce Calories & Go on Diets with Low Calories.
As a wheelchair user, it is always challenging to maintain a healthy weight since you are not as mobile as a non-wheelchair user. The best thing to do is to make sure that low-calorie foods, fruits, and vegetables are incorporated into your daily diet. Also, give priority to foods that are high in protein or carbohydrates over foods that are high in fat because those high in fats contain more calories. For example, a raw vegan food diet is useful in cutting calories and increasing nutrients. The TR90 and the South Beach Diet are great low-calorie diets that are good in taste and focus on healthy foods.
5. Make Sure to Sit Properly
To maintain a good posture is one of the best health tips for men and women I ever received as a wheelchair user.
But why is this important?
A good posture reduces stress on the body parts and helps avoid pressure points on your hips, so you feel more comfortable. A good posture also avoids injuries and makes it easier for you to maneuver your wheelchair freely.
In order to do this, each part of your body must be aligned from head to toe. Imagine a straight horizontal line down your trunk.
Make your chair amazingly more comfortable through a customized chair back and an ergonomically designed seat, which will help in maintaining a good posture and provide good support. We're not in the middle of how to be a healthy wheelchair user.
6. Avoiding Pressure Sores
At times, pressure sores can be a real nasty and can leave you out of action and bed-ridden for more than a few months – or even worse. They can also be life-threatening if infection sets in. One of the few good health tips to help try and avoid pressure sores is to shift your seating position regularly. In case you are unable to move yourself in your wheelchair, try to seek some assistance in moving at least once every hour just to disperse the pressure on certain areas of your body.
Purchase a pressure-relieving air cushion for your wheelchair, which is not only extra comfortable but can be really useful in preventing those horrible sores.
7. Take a shower regularly and maintain hygiene
A basic requirement of the human body is to take a shower regularly, at least once a day. The Health and well-being of any person are maintained through cleanliness and hygiene. It is even more important for a person who uses a wheelchair to take a shower every day. Many wheelchair users avoid taking a shower every day since their wheelchair is not waterproof, and asking for help from a caregiver invades their privacy. It is of utmost importance for every wheelchair user to get a waterproof wheelchair cover or cushion, so it does not become a reason to skip a shower every day.
8. Try to Avoid Alcohol as much as possible to promote health
Alcohol consumption is not good for any person’s mind or body and even more dangerous for those of us in wheelchairs.
Alcohol is a depressant that is linked to mental health issues and drinking; it can result in chronic physical and mental health problems.
Besides the danger to the liver and cardiovascular system, alcohol is also linked to serious illnesses like cancer and type-2 diabetes, both of which we can’t afford to tamper with.
Maintaining a good balance is badly needed to make safe transfers from and to the wheelchair, and this is the first thing that is affected when I drink.
People “driving” power chairs or scooters have been charged with driving under the influence since this is also a legal issue. You do want to avoid the embarrassment, the expense, or the loss of your “wheels.”
9. Be Mentally Healthy which translates into a healthy wheelchair user
Mental and physical health is directly connected to each other. Many people experience depression and begin to feel worthless because they are unable to do as many things for themselves as other people can. They can also experience anxiety. These health conditions are treated with proper counseling and medication. Therefore, it is important to consult a professional or a Doctor if one is experiencing any of these symptoms.
10. Fluids for your health
Lastly, an increase in fluid intake helps with the functioning of the brain and overall health. In addition to this, cutting on fizzy drinks and increasing water intake will also provide health benefits and can assist in weight loss. Topping up your fluid levels at regular intervals can also help in times of ill health. Ensuring a healthy water intake can help speed up the recovery process if you are suffering from some form of virus or infection. This wraps up our list of how to be a healthy wheelchair user.
Hopefully, these simple health tips have been of some use to you. These are just the start of how to be a healthy wheelchair user. Make your own list. Make it great! Just know that not everything you read will be applicable to you as everyone is different. Understanding your own body and finding what works best in your own situation is the key to staying healthy. Good luck!