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:
The importance of exercise has been stated by researchers, health physicians and exercise enthusiasts many times, but what programs are out there for people in wheelchairs? Exercise is still a possibility and a necessity for wheelchair users. A proper workout will increase strength, self-esteem and mobility as well as control weight gain.
Below are some tips to get you started, but remember as with any type of physical activity is important to consult a physician to determine what workout is best.
Before anyone works out it is important to eat a light meal or healthy snack before beginning exercising. Stretching is also a good idea to allow your muscles to warm up. Resistance training is an easy place to start and can be done using bands attached to a door handle or even to the arm of the wheelchair. Overtime you can increase the amount of resistance.
Personal trainers or even personnel at a local gym such as the YMCA may also be able to help design a program that fits your individual needs. Having a trainer is a benefit to help:
– Target muscle groups
– Help set up exercise
– Provide encouragement
One of the easiest things to do is quit, so it’s important to start slow and build a routine. By doing this you will form a regular exercise and fitness program which will last longer than one built on a whim. Staying positive is the sure fire way to make exercising a benefit. Having a workout partner is a great way to keep to your routine and to stay positive about working out.
If going to a gym isn’t your style you can work out in the comforts of your own home. You can purchase equipment that will help improve strength and mobility. Equipment is available to work your arms, back, shoulders and even abs and there’s sure to be something for the price you can afford. Two examples are the VitaGlide Pro that works your back and shoulders or the Wheel Gym that works the entire body. You can also purchase a DVD of workouts to do at your leisure.
Sport organizations are located throughout the U.S., designed for persons with disabilities to participate. There are numerous sports you can enjoy from the novice to professional level. You can play wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis , wheelchair rugby or even wheelchair bowling. These activities are not only great for exercise but for socializing as well. Forming a positive support community is beneficial for both physical and emotional health.
Tips for a safe work out
– Warm up before and after workouts for 5 to 10 minutes
– Start with a lighter weight and gradually increase
– Breathe properly – exhaling as you lift and inhaling as you lower weight
– If you feel faint or dizzy stop and take a break – if the feeling persists contact a physician
– Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy snack/meal at least an hour before each workout