In 2015, social media news feeds were suddenly flooded with videos and pictures of people of all ages dumping buckets of ice water on their heads; these videos and pictures were commented on by friends and family saying they couldn’t believe their friend had tagged them as next on the list to stand under the icy waterfall. Celebrities began posting their own videos and photos of this “Ice Bucket Challenge,” trying to one-up their neighbors in Beverley Hills. Eventually, everyone caught on that this fun challenge that had gone viral in a matter of days was actually for a good cause: raising awareness for ALS.
Since the Paralympics are back in full swing in Rio, we thought you might want to feel like a Paralympian yourself! So here’s a few tips on how to work out in a chair! Safety first, though. Talk to your doctor before you try any of these workout tips! Make sure that a loved one or a caregiver is present when exercising, and be sure not to overwork yourself! We don’t want you getting sore or too tired, we just want to get that blood flowing!
Why is exercising in a wheelchair helpful and important? Exercising will result in more flexibility, will strengthen you and your lungs and heart, and provide more mobility overall.
Push-ups in a wheelchair?! How to:
- First, lock your wheelchair into place, of course!
- Lay your arms on your arm rest.
- Now lift! Use your arms and upper body to lift yourself up and off the seat of the chair; stay lifted for as long as you can.
- You can lift and rest on repeat!
“Do you even lift?” Lifting weights in a wheelchair:
- You can use free weights or dumbbells, whichever is easier for you!
- If you don’t have any of those lying around, that’s okay! You don’t even need to rush out to buy them! Just use anything you have around the house that is a little bit heavier, like cans of food or books! Repetition is key!
Ready, set, go! Racing in your wheelchair:
- It’s fun, AND it works out your upper body!
- You can race other friends in wheelchairs or you can have people run against you! Working out can be FUN!
For those who want tight tummies:
- Alright, this one actually involves getting out of your chair and onto a yoga mat.
- Cross your legs, grab a weight (dumbbell, Pilates ball, heavy object around the house), and lift it straight above your head.
- Slightly rotate your torso back and forth for a period of time or until you’re too sore!
Some more tips on working out:
- Turn the TV on and out for half the time of your favorite show! Or the whole time you’re watching your favorite show!
- Make a playlist to listen to while your pumping that iron!
Links to workout videos for those working out in a chair: