Exercise Tips for Wheelchair Users

Submitted by Chris on

Exercise Tips for Individuals who are Handicapped or who use a Wheelchair

If you are restricted to a wheelchair, it is important to keep physically active so that your muscles do not deteriorate. Although exercise options will vary depending on an individual’s ability, we have collected some exercises that can be geared toward those who are handicap or who use wheelchairs. It is important to note that you should consult your doctor before beginning any type of exercise regime.

Warm Up
Before you attempt any strenuous exercises, it is important to follow a light warm up routine. This is especially important for people who haven’t exercised in a long time. Consult a physical therapist to inquire about specific stretches that will be beneficial to you. Studies have shown that athletes in wheelchairs are more susceptible to tendonitis and arm injuries, so make sure you warm up your body before engaging in physical activity.

Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are a great way to incorporate strength training into the fitness routine of an individual who works out while in a wheelchair. Small and flexible, these bands can be fastened to the wheelchair for convenience and portability. Resistance bands can be used for many different types of exercises that can be done anywhere.

Being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t partake in cardiovascular exercises. There are many wheelchair sports leagues in the United States that allow those with disabilities to take part in competitive sports . This type of exercise can help you work up a sweat and keep your arms and upper body strong. Sports leagues are also a great way to get involved in your community and meet new people!

Flexibility Exercises
Flexibility exercises can increase your range of motion, reduce stiffness and pain, and prevent injury. These include yoga and stretching. Although you may have limited mobility in your leg muscles, these exercises will make sure that your muscles don’t get stiff, as muscle stiffness can lead to atrophy.

Strength training
Strength training can be done easily using dumbbells. You can also use medicine balls of various sizes to throw and catch. Ask a physical therapist or doctor for body weight exercises that might also be useful.

Cool Down
Once you are done with an exercise session, make sure to cool down. Stretch your muscles and take deep breaths.

To be able to exercise safely when you have limited mobility, you must first get medical clearance. Although the exercises mentioned above are safe and have been recommended by experts, consult your physical therapist or doctor before you perform any physical activity.

Your doctor might recommend some better exercises that suit your specific bodily needs or you can look into hiring a special physical instructor. 

Additional Resources 

Submitted by: Molly Clarke

Blog comments

Violeta agustin (not verified)

My husband is using

My husband is using wheelchair, my son is always carried him. I bring him to therapist, but not helping him at all, I even paid $900.00. My situation right now is not good especially my financial matter.I have accident at my work since September 16,2015 then I'm not able to work for 5months, then my doctor approve me to work for 5hrs ,3x a week.last august 25,2016 Ihave surgery on my shoulder, my doctor said I have to stay home about 4 months. What is your recommendation for me?..Right now I'm on work comp.

Mon, 10/24/2016 - 05:48 Permalink

Add new comment

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!