The prospect of full-time wheelchair use can be very difficult to adapt to. Important to both psychical and mental health is an active life which includes excise. Exercise helps to ensure that the body is fit and the muscle tone is retained. A lack of exercise can lead to an increase in blood clots and also higher chances of contracting illness. Sitting in the same position can cause body sores which are painful and difficult to alleviate. Note: always check with your physician before starting any exercise regime.
How to Get Motivated
In the early stages, it’s a huge challenge to get motivated to exercise. Try to think of the positive aspects and the benefits to be enjoyed by exercising. A friend or spouse can encourage you and be with you until you start to develop a true interest. Set aside a few hours in a day for exercising and try to keep the routine around the same time. You can also set targets and try to achieve them. Getting together with friends always helps motivation. Group sports like wheelchair basketball and football offer an excellent chance for some competitive fun.
The Benefits of Exercises
Exercise is especially important for wheelchair users, here are some of the benefits of exercise.
- It helps to tone your muscles and improve your overall health.
- Exercising ensures that your weight is in check.
- It helps to maintain a certain fitness level.
- It increases your flexibility, mobility, body awareness, and muscle strength.
- Exercising generate endorphins which is an anti-depressant.
- As your mental health improves, you will feel good about yourself and gain confidence.
- It reduces stress levels.
- It helps to improve blood circulation, spine stability, and posture.
Resistance training can be done with the help of a resistance band tied to a door handle or similar firm object. Exercises such as arm and leg extensions, lat pull downs or rows can be done with the help of this band. In the row exercise, you hold the band, bend your elbows, and pull away or towards yourself in a smooth way. Then, return to the original position, and start again. These bands are available in different strengths so it’s great to choose one which is best suited for you.
Before you begin doing any strength training exercises, you should warm up with stretches for five minutes. After the exercises, there should also be five minutes of cooling down. Pushups are one form of strength training. Apply the brakes on your wheelchair and place your hands on the armrest. Holding the armrest, lift your body a few inches off the seat and slowly sit back again. Repeat this five times and increase the number of sets gradually. Take breaks in between and be careful not to overexert. You can also do overhead stretches which involves sitting straight and extending both hands above the head while inhaling. Interlock your fingers and turn your palms towards ceiling. Then, exhale and push your hands slightly backwards. Hold the position for few seconds and return to original position. Repeat the set five times. Use free weights or dumbbells for bicep curls and lateral raises.
How to Get into Wheelchair Sports and What is Available
Sports like basketball, volleyball, rugby, skiing, football, table tennis, tennis, track and field, and even golf are available for the wheelchair users. For some of these sports, the rules and arena may be changed to cater to the needs of wheelchair sportsmen and sportswomen. Wheelchair sports are good for the heart and lungs. For people who play a full game of wheel chair basketball or engage in any other type of wheelchair sports, they will find that energy is burned very quickly. There’s also a great feeling of satisfaction to know that they are still able to play the sports they love. It’s not so hard to find wheelchair sports groups in the area. Try the Internet or the local district office to get more information. Throughout the year, there are competitions for all sorts of wheelchair sports.
In addition to regular exercises, there are aerobic exercises, and Pilates, which is known as sitting aerobics. Aerobic exercises help improve posture and reduce pain in the spine. These exercises focus on upper body movements and improve overall fitness.
- Guide to Aerobic Exercises
- The Key to the Good Life
- Wheelchair Sports USA
- Common Overuse Injuries
- Recreation & Exercise
- Adaptive Adventures
- US Paralympics
- US Quad Rugby Association
- International Wheelchair Basketball Federation
- US Handcycle Federation
- USTA Wheelchair Tennis
- Exercising in Your Wheelchair
- Exercising from Sitting Position
- Fitness for Wheelchair Users
- Wheelchair Aerobic Fitness Trainer
- Some Wheelchair Exercises
- Disability & Health Journal
- Fitness Programs for the Disabled
- Wheelchair Yoga
- Wheelchair Bodybuilding
- Tai Chi in a Chair
- ITTF Para Table Tennis
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