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Wheelchair Exercise - How To Exercise From A Sitting Position - Nurse's Guide

Sep 4, 2008
Many people find it difficult to get motivated to exercise whether they're in a wheelchair or not and whether they're disabled or not. You may think about exercising from time to time or if you're already doing some exercises, perhaps you just need to exercise more. Wheelchair exercise can benefit not only your muscle strength and physical fitness but your mental outlook and emotional well-being.

Finding something that will motivate you to start and then continue a good ongoing fitness program at home will help get in the best shape and best mood and help you feel good too.

Will more strength solve any of your current problems? Most often they will, some directly and some indirectly. Perhaps you may need to develop a better 'push'. Many wheelchair users struggle with this and a better push can really change your daily mobility habits. It's one of the easiest exercises and most beneficial also. Developing these muscles will greatly increase your strength and will also help in transferring in and out of your manual, power or electric wheelchair and even help you when carrying or holding various items, light and heavy.

So if you need to exercise from a sitting position from your wheelchair or chair or for whatever the reason there are few easy sitting exercises you can easily do.

Many people need to exercise or prefer to exercise from their wheelchairs or have mobility problems that limit doing strenuous exercises from a standing position. Many people just prefer to do as little exercise as possible and they can also benefit greatly from doing some exercises while sitting down.

The best wheelchair exercises use both resistance training and strength training. With resistance exercises you'll need to get a resistance band. These are fairly cheap and available at most sports or fitness stores. These are like a big rubber band with handles on the end. You can use the bands with a pushing action or a pulling action. They can be wrapped around doors or your wheelchair arms. You can use them for your shoulders, arms and legs too. You can easily design your own exercises if you feel comfortable doing so.

Strength training is more commonly used. You can use dumbbells or any type of free weights including cans or anything that feels good in your hands. Makes sure to start with one or two pound weights and work up slowly. The usual health club or fitness center workout routine involves setting a standard of about 3 sets of 12 repetitions each.

If you're not motivated try to find a reason or two to help motivate yourself if you're not already motivated to exercise in or out of your wheelchair. Once you do this, make sure to consult with your doctor about the exercises you want to do to make sure you won't injure yourself. I can't emphasize this enough. There may be some ongoing situation that would not benefit from heavy lifting. Discuss this and find out what upper weight limits you should use.

Try to find times in the day such as when you're talking on the phone or watching TV or other activities in which you can incorporate your exercises. Maybe morning is best for you. As the day goes by you may become more tired. Developing stronger muscles may help combat fatigue also.

Getting the blood circulating through your exercise and fitness program will help prevent a lot of brain diseases as recent research has shown the connection between lack of good brain circulation and dementia and other brain diseases. You'll also be able to think more clearly, concentrate and focus more. The endorphins you'll release will help counteract pain and keep your mood elevated.

Perhaps get an exercise partner if you're in a position to do so and exercise together, at least to get started.

If you set some exercise and fitness goals for yourself, even if they're small exercise goals and slowly work up you'll soon see the benefits of wheelchair exercise and you'll want to keep fit while you sit every day. Getting a good wheelchair exercise DVD or video to help you while you exercise will greatly benefit you also.
About the Author
For more information on wheelchair exercise and travel tips for people with disabilities, go to a nurse's website http://www.AllAboutDisabledTravel.com specializing in travel, wheelchairs, exercise, sports and more with tips, help, advice and resources including info on wheelchair exercise DVD
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