Activities and Exercises for Wheelchair Users

Exercises for Wheelchair Users

Wheelchair users use the chairs because of medical conditions that make walking difficult, they’re recuperating from an injury or surgery, and or their stamina and energy levels are fluctuating. With some conditions, staying immobile while using the chair might worsen the ailment. 

Fortunately, there are several activities and exercises that wheelchair users can do to make sure they stay in tip top shape provided they have the clearance to do so and are wearing a posture corrector, back brace or any health and medical products for support. In this blog post from Gilani Engineering, we’ll list some of the activities, sports and games for wheelchair users to keep them from developing other conditions by sitting on their wheelchairs most of the time. 

1. Wheelchair yoga

Since yoga does not only promote physical well-being but also mental health, it’s  good exercises for wheelchair users. Yogis adapt the techniques they teach to accommodate wheelchair users. 

Who will benefit from wheelchair yoga?

Electric and or manual wheelchair users will benefit from doing wheelchair yoga. Most yoga studios that offer this type of class are attended by:

  • Wheelchair users with limited mobility
  • Individuals with paralysis
  • People recuperating from lower extremity injuries
  • Chronic illness and chronic pain sufferers
  • Elderly and senior people
  • Adaptive athletes
Wheelchair yoga
Activities and Exercises for Wheelchair Users 1

2. Adaptive sports

People with disabilities can engage in adaptive sports to make sure they still get the exercise they need. These activities for wheelchair users were adapted to accommodate disabled people and play sports. People with disabilities who engage in regular physical activity lessen the other health impacts of a sedentary lifestyle and generally, are happier and content since they are able to socially participate and engage with the community.

3. Wheelchair dance

Wheelchair dancing is another type of back exercise for wheelchair users who are not a fan of sports but would want something fun to help them get fit. Aside from getting some needed exercise, standing wheelchair users can also compete on a national or international level since wheelchair dance is a regulated sport where people with disabilities compete professionally!

Wheelchair dance
Wheelchair dance

4. Aquatic therapy

Some people feel calm and at peace when they are in the water or even just within a vicinity of a body of water. As such, aquatic therapy has been proven to be effective for wheelchair users when it comes to their mental health. As for their physical health, since we become buoyant when we’re submerged in water, it also becomes easier for them to move and exercise their limbs. 

This type of therapy is also beneficial for ambulatory wheelchair users or those who don’t need to use their wheelchair all the time. Some packages for holidays for wheelchair users even include aquatic therapy in the itinerary. Hydrotherapy not only helps in relieving pain but also strengthens the muscles and boosts stamina and energy level, something that a percentage of wheelchair users who can walk suffers from, hence the need for a wheelchair from time to time. 

5. Adaptive gym equipment

It might come as a surprise to others but most people with disabilities still visit a gym to workout. There are different gym exercises for wheelchair users with wheelchair-specific adaptive gym equipment. Most gyms already have the facilities to accommodate customers with limited mobility and with professional trainers who are experienced in adapted fitness.

Adaptive gym equipments for Wheelchair users
Activities and Exercises for Wheelchair Users 2

Frequently Asked Questions

What exercises can a person in a wheelchair do?

A person in a wheelchair can do various exercises and even engage in adaptive sports as long as they have a go signal from their doctor that they could participate in more strenuous activities.

However, there are still low-impact exercises for wheelchair users to avoid having serious complications for having a sedentary lifestyle. People with disabilities can also visit a gym for wheelchair users with adaptive gym equipment.

How do disabled people get exercise?

Disabled people still get exercise by doing wheelchair yoga, wheelchair dance, aqua therapy or even by using adaptive gym equipment. 

How do you strengthen your core if you’re in a wheelchair?

There are several exercises for the male and female wheelchair user to strengthen their core. These exercises include:

  • Spinal twists
  • Side bends
  • Back extensions
  • Ab crunches
  • Pallof press

What are the exercise guidelines for wheelchair users?

There are no specific exercise guidelines for wheelchair users. They have different preferences on activities that will help them get the exercise they need. However, it’s recommended that wheelchair users are advised to have at least 150 minutes per week of activity that raises their heart rate and makes them break a sweat with strength exercises for at least 2 days per week.

How can I strengthen my legs in a wheelchair?

It can be challenging to do leg exercises for wheelchair users especially those who have lost mobility in their lower body extremities. However, it’s imperative for wheelchair users to get a full-body exercise. Perhaps the easier way to strengthen your legs is by doing manual stretching with your partner or investing in full-body workouts with exercise machines for wheelchair users.

Is it good to sit in a wheelchair all day?

No. Wheelchair users must not spend most of their waking hours sitting on a wheelchair because not only is this uncomfortable, it might also result in them developing other illnesses or conditions by being sedentary.