Three Gym Exercises Every Wheelchair User Should Be Doing

August 8, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy

Getting fit has become a hot trend in America for some folks, especially the younger crowd. Everywhere you look, guys are lifting up their shirts and women are bragging about squatting. Heck, even Oscar-winning grandpas are getting jacked these days.

We’re not recommending you get that serious about it (unless you want to). But a little fitness never hurt anyone – and it could do a world of good for the wheelchair user.

As a wheelchair user, you’ve likely lost complete functionality in your legs; which means you’re already at a disadvantage. What happens if you fall from the chair? Without sufficient arm strength, you’ll need help getting up. But beyond that, arm strength will also make everything a little easier. Your transfers won’t be as rough; you’ll be better able to propel yourself with a manual wheelchair; you could play some wheelchair sports!

Here are three gym exercises every wheelchair user should be doing:

1. Stretching

You can find stretching programs all over the internet, and it doesn’t really matter what routine you pick. The key is to increase your flexibility and range of motion, which stretching regularly helps you do. Additionally, stretching before lifting weights is always smart, to prep those muscles for activity.

2. Resistance Band Training

This might be the easiest and simplest way to gain some strength. You can purchase resistance bands at any big box or sporting goods store, and then attach one to a doorknob or some other stationary item in the house. From here, use the band as you see fit to perform a variety of pulls (a few ideas). Since the resistance band can only stretch as far as you can pull it, there’s less chance of injury or overexertion.

3. Weight Lifting

You can purchase an inexpensive set of dumbbells at Walmart, but even household items can help you out. If you don’t have much arm strength, you can start by lifting cans of heavy food. Start with a pair of tomato soup cans, then work your way up to heavier things. Be sure to work different muscle groups, such as the shoulders (by raising the cans straight up over the head repeatedly) or the biceps (perform bicep curls while holding the cans).

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