When you use a wheelchair, you may feel that those days at the gym are behind you.
For many people that use wheelchairs, however, there are more benefits to staying in shape than for those who do not use these mobility aids. There are exercises that can help you maneuver your wheelchair if it is manual, while also ensuring that your physical and mental health stays in top shape, too.
It is worth noting that, as with all exercise regimens, you will want to check any program you want to engage in with your doctor or physical therapist prior to starting it.
So, what are some of the ways you can stay active and in tip-top shape while using a wheelchair?
The aim of cardiovascular exercise is to get your heart rate going, and to get you warm enough to break a sweat. Some ideas for this may include using a rowing machine, swimming, and sitting exercises—or even wheelchair sprints and workouts.
Many of the best pieces of equipment for cardiovascular exercise will be accessible at your nearest gym. If you need help getting to your gym to engage, you may need to invest in a car that is accessible for people in wheelchairs. Head over to alliedmobility.com for more information on this area.
If you have a manual wheelchair , you will need to move it around by yourself, which can be hard to adapt to in those first few weeks as you are, in essence, pulling your own weight around!
To help strengthen your back, shoulder, and arm muscles, it can be worth investing in dumbbells; or, once again, head to your local gym for guidance on which machines can help you build your muscles.
A key way to stay in shape and active while in a wheelchair is to get out and see your local town. This will allow you to explore the area, while also giving you a work out—assuming that you are using a manual wheelchair.
This can also help you to improve your self-esteem, as many people who are new to using wheelchairs may feel embarrassed. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, though, so get out there and see your friends!
Diet plays a huge part in staying active. If you put junk into your body, you won’t have the required energy to function.
So, one key factor to keep an eye on is your diet. Aim to eat the standard three meals a day and stay hydrated. If you are looking to have a diet that will allow you to build muscle, it is worth consulting with a doctor or nutritionist, as they can better advise you on which foods can help you to do this without causing unnecessary weight gain.
Get Enough Sleep
Once again, this is a key point that many people overlook when they want to stay active. If you are tired, you are not going to have the energy to work out, so be sure to get your eight hours a night—and practice good sleep hygiene.
If you are in discomfort, this can impact your sleep, so talk to your doctor about appropriate pain management if you need to.