It can be hard enough to find routines we’re able to keep up with as we age, but it can be a bigger hurdle for individuals who are wheelchair-bound. But just because your loved one is in a wheelchair doesn’t mean he or she can’t reap the benefits of being active. There are a variety of wheelchair exercises for your loved ones to follow no matter their goals.
Wheelchair Exercises for Loved Ones – Improved Flexibility
To exercise successfully with limited mobility, it’s recommended to get medical clearance first. Discuss with the physical therapist or doctor about which activities are suitable, the frequency, and the types of exercises to avoid.
Being flexible and having a full range of motion makes movement much easier, like bending down to tie your shoelaces or reach for the top shelf. It also reduces stiffness and pain, allowing your loved ones to perform their daily activities with less friction. Before getting started, make sure to use a wheelchair belt to avoid falling out of the chair as your loved ones will be moving their trunk a lot.
Here is an exercise to warm the muscles:
Knee to chest – this will help to stretch the shoulders, neck, and spine.
- Curl the spine forward and drop the torso toward the thighs.
- Allow the head and hands to hang heavy and relaxed towards the ground or the feet.
- Hold this position for about 45 seconds, then slowly straighten out the back.
Wheelchair Exercises for Loved Ones – Strength-Building
To maintain muscle tone, this strength exercise can be done with or without equipment. If your loved ones are capable of using resistance bands or light dumbbells, doing this routine rapidly can also turn it into a cardiovascular workout.
Bicep curls – using a resistance band with one end in each hand will help to build strength in the arms.
- Grip the resistance band tightly with the arms completely extended so that the elbows and palms are straight and face forward.
- Close the elbows and slowly raise the hands as high as possible.
- Alternate between eight counts of curls on each side and increase that number gradually.
Wheelchair Exercises for Loved Ones – Cardiovascular Exercises
For maintaining a healthy weight and improving heart health, even cardiovascular exercises at a low intensity can benefit your loved ones tremendously.
Seated twists – this workout is sure to get the heart rate up and tighten the obliques. The faster it is, the higher the impact.
- Raise the palms facing away from the body at chest level with elbows bent and fingers pointing upwards.
- Point both knees to one side of the wheelchair is if possible.
- Try to keep the core tight as the upper body twists in the opposite direction of the knees and then to the other direction.
- Keep this up for at least two to three minutes.
Why Choose The Summit?
When you increase your strength, flexibility, and stamina, moving through the day goes from a challenge to pleasure – a reminder of improved health and fitness that continues to motivate you.
At The Summit, like-minded residents have plenty of opportunities to participate in our comprehensive range of wellness programs. If you have any inquiries about the range of services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact us today.