Roger Sims from www.locostmedicalsupply.com shares that continuing to exercise into your senior years can be a challenge, as the aging process can naturally make you less energetic and less mobile. This is particularly true for wheelchair users, as this further limits your options for exercise and other physical activities.
However, this does not mean you must resign yourself to a sedentary lifestyle, as there are many exercises that are both beneficial for your health and suitable for those with impaired mobility.
The benefits of staying active into your senior years are enormous, helping to combat many medical conditions and diseases, such as muscle wasting, osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia. Staying as fit as possible is also beneficial for improving mental health and maintaining independence, as well as boosting your immune system, vitality, and energy levels.
Regular exercise can improve your quality of life in many ways, keeping you healthier, happier, and more energetic well into your later years. Although wheelchair users have fewer opportunities for participating in physical activity, there are several ways to overcome the hurdle of limited mobility and achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Mobility equipment can be of great use to wheelchair users with some leg function, as it can make walking short distances and performing exercises from a standing position possible. However, there are also many highly effective exercises that can be performed from a seated position.
Here are five clever exercises to do from your wheelchair, which can all be of great help in strengthening your body and boosting your health.
Seated Cardio Workout
Cardio is a great exercise for burning calories and getting the blood pumping, promoting a healthy cardiovascular system, and helping to prevent illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You may think that an effective cardio workout requires a high level of mobility, but there are plenty of ways to raise your heart rate from a seated position.
Experiment with exercises such as “picking fruit,” in which you raise alternating arms one at a time over your head, “chair marching,” where you raise one arm in time with the opposite leg before switching sides, as though you were marching in place, and rowing motions.
These are all great actions for an effective cardiovascular exercise routine and should be performed daily. Starting off small by dedicating ten minutes each day to cardio is a great way to begin, and you can increase the time you spend doing it as your fitness grows.
There are several excellent seated exercise videos available online which are easy to follow, and developed by personal trainers to deliver the best and most effective cardio workout from a seated position.
The benefits of strength training for those with limited mobility are numerous, and even more so if you are an older person.
Muscle mass decreases over time, resulting in reduced mobility, energy, and health, so it is important to combat this by regularly using and strengthening the muscles in your arms and upper body. This can also boost your metabolism, increasing appetite, energy levels, and improving your overall mood.
Exercises that target the upper body muscles are very easy to do in a seated position, so this type of workout is very achievable for wheelchair users. Try bicep curls, shoulder extensions, and tricep curls to exercise your arm and upper-body muscles, starting off with small sets of around ten reps and slowly increasing the number over time.
Weights can be purchased in all sizes, so finding one that suits your strength is easy. These exercises can also be performed using a resistance band, or even a few cans of soup from the pantry.
Sitting Push Ups
If you want to improve your muscle strength without using weights, there are many other toning exercises that can easily be done from your wheelchair. Sitting pushups are another great way to work out the muscles in your arms and upper body and, according to research from the University of Iowa, are also beneficial for taking some of the pressure off your legs.
This exercise is easy to do and can be performed without any assistance. Simply grab the armrests of your chair and push yourself straight up and out of the seat without using your legs as support.
Push yourself up as high as possible, and hold the position for ten seconds before slowly lowering yourself back down. Start small, doing a few set of as many repetitions as you can, and gradually increase the number over time as your strength improves.
Regularly practicing yoga can benefit your health in a great many ways and can improve your overall strength, flexibility, and mobility. Yoga has also been found to promote healthy sleep, relieve tension, and reduce stress and anxiety, boosting your overall mental health as well as your physical well-being.
Although traditional yoga incorporates many positions and movements that require standing or a lot of physical strength, there are just as many routines that can be easily performed from a sitting or even lying, position.
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that is both energizing and calming, and it is an enjoyable and effective way to work out. Consider joining a therapeutic yoga class, or have a look online for a suitable instructional video you can follow at home, and you can soon reap the benefits of regularly stretching and strengthening your muscles.
Simple stretching may not seem like the most beneficial form of exercise, but stretching is very useful for increasing blood flow and improving circulation. This is very important for wheelchair users, as sitting for long periods of time naturally impairs blood circulation, which can lead to health complications down the line.
Stretching also strengthens the muscles, helping to combat muscle deterioration, and improves your overall flexibility and mobility.
Some good examples of effective stretching exercises include rolling your shoulders up to your ears and back again, raising your arms above your head and leaning first the one side and then the other, and swinging your arms by your sides. These motions mobilize and stretch the muscles in the arms, neck, shoulders, and abdomen, keeping them limber and healthy.
Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle is important whatever your age or situation, but people with reduced mobility are among those most likely to see noticeable benefits from incorporating exercise into their daily routine.
Regular exercise increases the strength and flexibility of your muscle, tendons, and ligaments, which, in turn, improves overall mobility and health. Staying active, even if you are a wheelchair user, is vital for preventing the onset of weight-related diseases such as diabetes and in promoting a positive mindset.
There are plenty of effective workout routines that can be done from a seated position, the best of which include strength training, cardio, and stretching, Experiment with different exercises to find out which ones are right for you, and come up with a routine you are motivated to stick with. By making exercise part of your daily routine, you can begin to see the benefits after only a few weeks.