Wheelchair exercises increase strength, flexibility, and muscle tone and should be part of a daily routine for wheelchair users. Working out regularly helps control weight, aid digestion, improve self-esteem, and increase energy levels.
Spending long hours in a wheelchair can make individuals feel restless and uncomfortable, as well as cause aches and pains. A well-designed exercise program can help alleviate shoulder, neck, and back strain that is common among wheelchair users. Exercising also helps people cope with feelings of depression and improves mood.
Prior to beginning an exercise regime, you should consult your healthcare professional to determine the best type of exercise program for your condition. Your doctor or physical therapist will be able to recommend a specific workout program and show you how to perform each exercise.
It may be helpful to hire a personal trainer who has experience working with people with disabilities. A personal trainer can devise an appropriate workout planu and come to your home to help with your exercise and monitor progress.
If you prefer working out in a gym, your trainer will teach you how to use the appropriate exercise equipment and help you transfer from one machine to another.
If you prefer to exercise alone in the privacy of your living room, wheelchair exercise videos and DVD's are another option.
A workout program for your upper body should include exercises for the arms, shoulders, neck, back, and torso. Prior to each workout, you should spend at least ten minutes warming up and stretching to prevent injury.
Then, start your exercise program slowly with simple exercises and work your way up to doing the more difficult ones over time. During strength training, gradually work up to lifting heavier weights.
If you are competitive by nature, consider getting involved in organized wheelchair sports in your area. For more information, click here.
Even dedicating just a few minutes a day to exercise can help build muscle strength and make it easier for you to perform daily activities. For example, regular wheelchair exercise enables you to push your wheelchair, transfer in and out of your wheelchair, and carry heavy items with greater ease.
Remember to speak with your doctor or physical therapist prior to getting started on any type of exercise program - and to ensure your exercise plan is customized to meet your specific needs.
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