For many of us, the first things to come to mind about exercises are running, walking around, and basically standing up and performing an activity. However, those movements are pretty much impossible to do for individuals who are wheelchair-bound. This does not mean that you do not have to lead an active lifestyle, but rather, you have to find alternative ways to get your heart rates going and work your bodies. Regardless of one’s age or physical mobility, it’s important to avoid living a sedentary lifestyle in order to maintain a healthy body and mind. As such, here’s how you can exercise in wheelchairs.
Chest Squeeze with Medicine Ball
For this exercise, all you need is a medicine ball. You simply have to sit straight, hold up the medicine ball at chest level, and squeeze the ball. Do remember to engage the abs in order to support the back muscles and to make the exercise effective. By squeezing the ball, you are contracting your chest muscles at the same time. After squeezing the ball, bring the ball forward until the elbows are straight before bringing the ball back to the chest. Repeat these steps for around five minutes. If you are new to this exercise, we recommend taking out the medicine ball and practicing with just the hands first.
Chest Press with Band
Another way to tone the chest is to perform a chest press. Taking a resistance band, place the band at the back of the wheelchair and you have to grab the ends of the band while sitting tall with your abs engaged. Make sure the arms outright are at a 90-degrees angle and at shoulder level in order to better engage the abs and chest. Now all you have to do is bring your arms forward as far as you can do so and hold the stretch for around two minutes before bringing the arms back. Repeat these steps a few times. Throughout this exercise, ensure that your arm movements are controlled and go slowly.
Knee lifts are by far one of the easiest exercises to perform for wheelchair-bound individuals as participants already have to be seated to perform the task. By sitting straight with both feet flat on the ground and the abs engaged, you simply have to lift one leg slowly as high as possible before alternating to the other leg. These steps are repeated in motion a couple of times for a few minutes. However, to increase the intensity and work out more of a sweat, you can hold the leg up for around two to 10 seconds in order to feel a burn on your leg muscles.
To strengthen the core and abs, a tummy twist is an effective exercise that requires no equipment. You have to sit up straight and suck in your belly button while making sure your lower body does not move during the exercise. Your arms should be held up at a 90-degrees angle, with your forearms extended in front of you and elbows at your sides. To twist the waist, you just have to rotate your upper torsos to one side as far as you can go and then twist back to the center and to the other side. This movement is repeated a few times for around five minutes.