Living your waking life in a wheelchair means that your body’s muscles will deteriorate, or will they? Previously active sportsmen and women who suddenly become wheelchair bound often feel that their sporting activities have come to an end. This is not so. There are many sports as well as exercises that can be performed in a wheelchair. Let’s examine some general exercises. These will obviously depend on which limbs are still functioning. It’s also important to obtain a doctor’s advice regarding wheelchair exercises.
Firstly, let’s look at some easy exercises that can be performed with everyday objects, while sitting in wheelchairs. It’s important that we strengthen our grip. This can be achieved with a tennis ball. With the ball in your hand, give it a light squeeze then slowly tighten your grip as much as you can. Hold this position for a few seconds then let go your grip. Perform this exercise only five times if you find it difficult. Repeat the routine several times during the first day. Each day, Increase the number of times you perform this exercise until you can easily squeeze the ball twenty times at a stretch.
This next exercise can be performed on both legs at the same time or one leg at a time, depending on your mobility. If you are still able to move your feet, ankle exercises will help to keep your bones healthy. Lift your legs approximately 30 centimetres from their resting place and rotate your ankles in circles, first clockwise then anti-clockwise. In this exercise you should only rotate your ankles.
As we grow older, we need to keep sufficient flexibility in our upper limbs. This next exercise will help to strengthen your wrists. Position your hands in front of you with your palms facing upwards and bend them at your wrists as if you are motioning to someone to come towards you. Next, turn your hands over and flex them as if you are telling someone to go away. Do these exercises about ten times during each session.
Your shoulders should also be exercised in order to loosen the shoulder bones. Roll your left shoulder forward then upwards, backward, then down again. Repeat with your right shoulder. Next, roll your shoulders together. Repeat this exercise about six times during each routine.
In order to strengthen your upper arms, place your hands on your shoulders. Next, stretch your arms straight out to the side until they are level with your shoulders. Hold for a few seconds then return your arms to the starting position. Repeat this exercise approximately ten times.
Also, when selecting mobility products, ask for a wheelchair with a sun canopy if you intend to frequently sit outdoors. Remember that the harsh Australian sun can play havoc with your skin.
Although being in a wheelchair is an inconvenience, many people, including thousands of senior citizens, use them and live their lives to the fullest.