Exercising in Your Wheelchair
Exercise is an important aspect of everyone’s lives but the idea of it can be daunting if you use a wheelchair. Staying active is important to both your physical and mental health, as well as promoting social activities with friends. Exercise also ensures that your body is fit and that you retain some muscle tone, which can begin to deteriorate when not used.
Benefits of Wheelchair Exercises
- Improves circulation
- Reduces chance of blood clots
- Reduces chance of heart attack, or stroke
- Increases mobility, flexibility, and overall muscle strength
- Reduces stress
- Release of endorphins which make you feel happier
- You will feel better about yourself and gain self-confidence
It is important to stay motivated when trying to start an active lifestyle. There will be times where you will want to be doing other things, or you simply do not feel up to exercising. You should try to keep in mind the benefits of exercising, and why you started in the first place. The best way to stay on track is to set goals for yourself, which will promote self-confidence when you achieve them. If you are having trouble staying motivated, then maybe enlist the help of a friend or relative to encourage you.
There is now a very diverse range of sports that are wheelchair specific, meaning that everyone who participates will be in one. Wheelchair sports are competitive, fun, and a great way to engage yourself with a team which can be fantastic for your confidence and a great way to make friends. There are a few accessories that you may need when playing a wheelchair sport such as gloves or head rests, but your local team will be able to point you in the right direction. If you are interested in playing a wheelchair sport, you could choose from:
- Wheelchair basketball
- Wheelchair curling
- Wheelchair rugby
- Wheelchair tennis
- Wheelchair dance
- Wheelchair fencing
- Power hockey – uses an electric powered wheelchair
- Wheelchair netball
- Wheelchair soccer
Not a Sportsperson?
There are plenty of other ways for you to have an active lifestyle without seeing a personal trainer or getting involved in sports. One of the best ways is to start doing aerobic exercises and Pilates, which help improve posture and can improve spinal pains. These exercises have a focus on moving your upper body, and are great for older people who may have developed arthritis or other age related illnesses.
Where Do You Begin?
How you begin your active lifestyle is up to you, you can either join a club which specialises in wheelchair bound activities or try to find a sports club near you. There are plenty of resources that you can utilise to make the most of your exercise. There are also personal trainers who are qualified to help you exercise safely and efficiently.
Want to Know More?
Here are a few resources for you to have a look at to help you start a new active lifestyle.
- Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby
- NHS Wheelchair Active Fitness
- Live Healthy Aerobic Exercises