Exercises for Seniors in Wheelchairs
Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you will have to let yourself go. On the contrary, having a fit and strong upper body will help you to stay self sufficient, confident and also to have a better quality of life. If you are a senior man in wheelchair, there are a number of senior fitness exercises for wheelchair patients that you can practice to help you have a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Wheelchair exercises can help you in a number of ways, including increasing your strength, flexibility, muscle and other body functions like digestion, weight control and so on. Life in a wheelchair can be painful. However, the right wheelchair exercises will help to cure the shoulder, neck and back strain that you might get when you use the wheelchair for too long.
Important to note before you begin senior fitness exercises
DO NOT start your senior fitness exercises without consulting doctor, if you are in a wheelchair. The doctor will help you determine if it is safe for you to perform wheelchair exercises and he will also tell you what exercises you are capable of. Taking the help of a certified personal trainer can help improve the quality of the senior fitness exercises that you perform. He can help you with the proper use of the fitness equipments, the transfer of gym equipments and so on.
There are two major types of wheelchair exercise for wheelchair patients – strength training and resistance training.
Resistance training for wheelchair patients – In case of resistance training for senior people in wheelchairs, resistance bands are used that are secured to a pole, hook, arm of the wheelchair or a door handle (whatever is more convenient). These large, stretchable bands are then used to pull towards or away from you, thus helping you to work your muscles. Shoulder and trunk rotations, elbow and leg extensions, shoulder and neck pull downs – all of these movements and exercises are possible with the help of resistance exercise. These resistance bands usually come in low, high or medium resistance power.
The resistance training is a great option for seniors who may resent the presence of a trainer. In addition, this wheelchair exercise does not require any elaborate equipment, which may sometimes prove to be a hindrance.
Strength training for wheelchair patients – If you find that you are responding well to resistance training, you can graduate to strength training. This is also known as weight training. The best senior fitness exercises with weight can be performed with small weights and dumbbells for lifting. These can be a great way of stretching and moving the muscles, after they have been used in one position for long.
Weights will help you to achieve a higher muscle mass. This in turn will increase your metabolic rate and will consequently keep you fit. It will help you to avoid gaining weight, in spite of being confined to the wheelchair.
Exercises for osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that gives the patient an increased risk of fractures. Since the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced in this condition, there is a greater chance of fracture. Senior men and women are more susceptible to this condition. So, senior fitness exercises, especially those who are on wheelchair, should include both strength training and resistance training, as this can help you to achieve a better BMD, and thereby reduce the risk of fractures and falls.
Always remember that wheelchair exercises can help to improve the quality of your life manifold. So if you want to lead a happy and healthy life, senior fitness exercises for wheelchair patients is a must for you!