Having physical limitations and having to use a wheelchair is not the end of your activity. Use a wheelchair is not an obstacle to activities, including sports.
You can still do sports like the others. However, there are indeed certain limitations in the sport that you do. You can do light exercise such as stretching exercises.
Stretching exercises for people who use wheelchairs
Wheelchairs are one of the tools for people who are no longer able to walk on their own feet. The reasons for using a wheelchair are different. It can be due to an aging age, accident or injury, amputation, or because of certain diseases. Some diseases that allow patients to use wheelchairs include multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis , or osteoarthritis.
Most wheelchair users use the upper body more often, especially the shoulders and arms. This will cause pressure or tension in the joints and muscles. So, wheelchair users often experience shoulder pain.
Therefore, you need to strengthen your back muscles and stretch your chest muscles by doing stretching exercises.
Stretching exercises can be the best sports choice for wheelchair users. This is done to build strength and improve patient movements. When done with other treatments, this exercise can reduce pain and improve the fitness of wheelchair users.
Choice of stretching exercises for people who use wheelchairs
This stretching exercise is done to increase strength, range of motion, and endurance of people who use wheelchairs. Here are some choices of stretching exercises that can be done at home.
This movement provides good stretch for the shoulder and chest muscles. This helps maintain shoulder mobility and upper extremities to reduce pain and injury.
How to do it:
If possible, remove your wheelchair
Sit comfortably and stretch your hands wider than your shoulders while holding a broom or stick (as if you want to pull-up)
Lift the broom above your head with both hands and straighten your arms
Pull your arms back until you feel a stretch
Hold this motion for 5 seconds, return to the starting position, and repeat 10 times
Do it every day
Lat pull downs
This exercise is useful for strengthening the muscles of the back, upper arms, and core. How to do it:
Remove your wheelchair if possible
Hang a resistance band on a strong pole or a fence that exceeds your sitting position
Sit in front of the resistance band
Raise your hands and straighten, slightly over the shoulder width
Pull the band tightly towards you and hold your elbows wide
Pull the band towards your chest, so that your back muscles feel pulled, then return to the starting position
Repeat this movement 15 times and take 1 minute rest in 3 sets
Do this movement once a day
This exercise is not only useful for the arms and shoulders, but also benefits your heart health and overall body fitness. This exercise can also increase your heart rate and sweat .
This movement is almost the same as lat pull down, but moving the band is like riding a bicycle. Do it for 5-30 minutes. Rest first if you feel sick or out of breath. Repeat this movement once a day.
Sports tips for people who use wheelchairs
Do a sport that you like. If you are not used to exercise or have not exercised for a long time, try starting slowly. You can try exercising for 10 minutes then increase it to 20 minutes.
If the exercise you are doing causes pain, stop immediately and see a doctor. Always consult with your doctor before starting to exercise or want to replace other types of exercise. Especially if you have heart problems, muscle injuries, dizziness, vertigo, or high blood pressure.