By Chris Miller, The Mobility Resource
Anyone that has recently experienced a spinal cord injury may understandably find themselves discouraged or lethargic. But it’s important to remain as active as possible despite limitations.
The question is, of course, what sort of activity can properly be done from a wheelchair? There are certain activities that can be performed depending on your disability and advisement from your doctors or, if you are working with one, a physical therapist.
What Exercise Can I Do?
These exercises help with heart rate and endurance. Rowing machines are especially popular among people in wheelchairs, as they provide a great cardiovascular workout while also conditioning the upper body.
Depending on your location, you may find that your local gym not only has rowing machines, but tracks or studios that are designed for wheelchair sprinting. This is a great way to for those recently placed into a wheelchair to get accustomed to using it while also getting a nice workout.
If your doctor allows it, you may also want to look into swimming or, once you’ve gotten comfortable with the wheelchair, some form of wheelchair sport. There are variations of games such as basketball and badminton that are very popular among individuals in wheelchairs.
Proper strengthening of your muscles is crucial because sitting in a wheelchair can cause excessive atrophy. In terms of muscle toning, it’s suggested that you should work on the muscle groups that are constantly being asked to push your wheelchair forward. Proper training makes these muscle groups less prone to injury.
Strengthening your shoulders and back is key if you want to stay in shape while in a wheelchair. These types of exercises can be done from home using a series of resistance bands. You can also check with your local gyms to see if they have any wheelchair accessible equipment. While at the gym, ask if they know of any local programs or organizations for those with disabilities that are looking to stay active.
As mentioned above, there are various competitive sports you can participate in once you are comfortable with your wheelchair. From fast-paced basketball to leisurely strolls around wheelchair accessible nature trails, there is no end to the physical activities you can partake in.
As you can see, a wheelchair does not have to hinder you at all when it comes to staying active. As long as you can stay within your comfort zone and follow your doctor’s orders, you should have enough physical activities to keep your hands full.
About the author: Chris Miller is the director of interactive marketing for The Mobility Resource, an online adaptive driving marketplace. His team helps people with disabilities regain driving freedom through vocational rehab, veteran affairs and several non-profit and private organizations.
A graduate of The University of Akron, Chris holds a bachelor of arts in public relations and consumer marketing. Prior to his time at The Mobility Resource, he was an account director at a Cleveland-based marketing communications firm. It was there he serviced accounts for major brands including; the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers, Chevrolet, Reebok, ESPN and the U.S. Army. Chris has been published on disability.gov, ADAP.org and blog.NCPAD.org, to name a few.
Born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of muscular dystrophy, he is passionate about all things disability. In his free time, Chris enjoys spending time with his daughter while they dish up amazing meals for friends and family. Say hello to him on twitter @SweetMobility.