New Year, New You: Exercise Tips for Wheelchair Users

exercise tips

When the clock strikes midnight on the start of the New Year it is often marked with promises and resolutions for the year ahead. One of the most common of these is something along the lines of losing weight or getting fit. For many wheelchair users, the idea of exercise goals seems like more of a nuisance rather than a fun challenge to embark upon. But, with a few easy exercise tips for wheelchair users, getting fit and staying healthy can be both fun and exciting for the New Year.

Tip #1: Utilize Technology to Your Advantage

Technology is ever changing. What is here today will not be the same tomorrow. And, tomorrow’s technology will be newer and better than we could ever even begin to imagine. With that in mind, it should be easy to see why technology is a great tool for wheelchair users when they look to incorporate exercise into their lives. This is because technology tools can help wheelchair users to exercise in safer, more effective ways than without technology’s assistance. Here are a couple great technology resources for wheelchair users to consider when starting or continuing their exercise journey:

  • Online Exercise Videos for Wheelchair Users

A quick Google or YouTube search will lead you to hundreds of videos showcasing exercises for wheelchair users. Many of the video creators will not only talk through the steps to the exercises they are highlighting, but they will also show the correct ways to safely execute the exercise. While it may take a bit of research time, wheelchair users can find exercises that will work for them and they will be able to implement into their own exercise routines going forward.

  • The Apple Watch for Wheelchair Users

They say that technology is at our fingertips, but in this case exercise technology can be on your wrist. The Apple Watch is one tool that wheelchair users can utilize to help make their exercise goals a possibility. The Apple Watch tracks a wheelchair user’s pushes instead of the number of steps they take. There is also an activity application within the Apple Watch platform. Within this platform, wheelchair users can select one of two workout modes: outdoor wheelchair walk pace or outdoor wheelchair run pace. Once selected, the watch turns on the appropriate sensors and tracks the users’ progress. Users can track the movements, time, calories and distance they log during the workout.

Tip #2: Work with a Trainer or Gym

Exercising at a gym not only gets wheelchair users out of the house, but it also allows them to utilize equipment that they may not have access to otherwise. Many gyms have specialized programs or trainers that work one-on-one with individuals looking to make a difference with their exercise routine. Wheelchair users that have access to a local gym or personal trainer can work with them to develop a customized routine specific to their needs and goals. They will also be able to learn how to safely incorporate the equipment into their regimen, how often to use it for it to be effective and how to use the equipment properly. The trainer can also recommend exercises to help supplement their routine that can be completed from home or anywhere on the go, such as while waiting for doctor’s appointments, or simply whenever they may not be able to make it to the gym.

Tip #3: Get Out and Socialize

Yes, we meant to say socialize. Wheelchair users, like able-bodied individuals, have busy day-to-day schedules and can forget the importance of socialization. Getting together with family and friends, or even a caretaker outside of their regular duties, is incredibly important for mental health. And, a healthy mental health can help lead to a healthier overall health. So, taking the time out of a busy schedule to socialize is a win-win for wheelchair users.

Tip #4: Join an Adaptive Sports League

Adaptive sports are quickly rising in popularity and it seems like more and more possibilities are being created every single day. Some of the most popular options include adapted cycling, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball, adaptive skiing, and even adaptive bowling. These sports are a great way to get out and exercise on a regular basis. League sports usually meet on a weekly basis for practices or games, and many of the sport leagues even meet during the winter months as a way to stay out of the cold and be active indoors.

Pro tip: joining an adaptive sport league will not only help you get exercise, but it will help you socialize, as well. So, wheelchair sports will help you remain both physically and mentally fit!

The Importance of Exercise for Wheelchair Users

Exercise is an important part of life for all individuals – wheelchair users and able-bodied alike. Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of developing long-term chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease, or other conditions such as certain forms of cancer and having a stroke. Any of these conditions could make a wheelchair user’s current medical state worse off than if they had taken the path to a healthier lifestyle through exercise.

New Year, New You, It’s Time to Get Started

Not sure where to begin? Give one or a few of our recommendations a try or consult your doctor. Physicians are a great resource for wheelchair users and can provide more in-depth recommendations tailored to a specific individual and their needs.

And do not forget that once you are ready to hit the open road, our team of expert handicapped vans sales representatives will be here ready to help you get where you want to go. If you are ready today, what are you waiting for? Contact us now to get started.

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