4 Exercises You Can Do in Your Wheelchair
Even if you don't have the ability to tackle a full exercise routine — whether because of balance concerns, health issues or lack of full mobility — your body will still benefit from routinely doing exercises in your chair, wheelchair or power wheelchair. Exercise improves circulation, muscle tone, flexibility, balance, cardiovascular health and more1, including helping to keep you aging in place and helping to reduce falls (also check out our article 5 Tips to Help Prevent Falls in the Home).
First Things First
Before beginning, take note of your posture while you are sitting in your chair. Make sure to sit tall — by bringing your head, shoulders and rib cage straight up, and tightening your stomach in. Imagine balancing a book on your head, if that helps! Then, be sure to breathe deeply from your belly so the oxygen flows properly. When you're ready to begin, always remember to lock and/or turn off your power wheelchair before starting.
1. Shoulder Mobilization Exercises
Shoulder rolls, as Livestrong explains, are a great way to lubricate your joints and extend mobility.
- While seated, bring your shoulders up toward your ears, and then back down. Repeat.
- Roll your right shoulder backward, relax, and then roll your left shoulder backward. Repeat.
- Using your entire arm, roll your right shoulder forward. Relax, and repeat on your left shoulder. Repeat.
2. Wrist Rolls
Not only will this help lubricate your joints, but it works to strengthen the muscles and add to your fitness routine (a la some examples from Chelsea Jewish).
- Hold both arms in front of you, palms flat, and rotate your wrists so your palms face front, then downward.
- Repeat 5 times.
3. Ankle Rolls
This is the same idea as wrist rolls, but you are focusing on your ankles instead. Clever, huh? The goal here is to lubricate your joints and strengthen muscles.
- Lift your right foot slightly. While keeping your foot in the air, draw a circle in the air with your toes, rotating your ankle to the right 5 times. Then draw a circle in the air while rotating your ankle to the left 5 times.
- Repeat step 1 with your left foot.
4. Roll Your Knees
This one is a bit different than rolling your wrists or ankles, but keeping your knee joints limber is important for strength and balance. If you have knee issues, consult a doctor before attempting this exercise.
- While seated, lift your right knee and make a circle in the air. Your knee is the starting point. Roll clockwise for the right leg and counter-clockwise for your left knee.
- Do this for each knee for a count of 10.
- Repeat three times.
Call a Hoveround Mobility Specialist today at (800) 542-7236 to find out how you can regain your independence with a power wheelchair or a mobility scooter. And if you're caring for a loved one, be sure to read these tips on how to talk with your loved one about using a mobility vehicle.
1Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, and make sure your blood pressure and blood sugar are at safe levels.