Revolutionary design. Superior bio-mechanics. The right way to roll. That’s the motto of Rowheels, a Wisconsin-based company that has created a new type of wheels, called Rev1, for manually operated wheelchairs. What makes Rowheels different from its competitors is not what the wheels look like, but how they work. Rather than pushing the wheels forward to move forward, the user pulls the Rev1 wheels back (towards the body) to move forward. Check out the video below to see how to operate a chair with Rowheels!
Now that we understand how Rowheels work, let’s dive into the many benefits of this cutting-edge concept.
Perhaps one of the more immediate benefits that wheelchair occupants will notice when using Rowheels will be an improvement in their posture. This is because the pulling motion of Rowheels encourages proper positioning of the shoulders and back, which minimizes the harmful effects associated with the common “sunken chest” posture of normal wheelchair users.
“The (Rowheels) rowing motion makes wheelchair users sit up straight, allowing the diaphragm to function properly and significantly improve breathing,” said J. Justus, a SCI Nurse Educator in Zablocki, VA.
Rowheels gives wheelchair users the opportunity to not only use but also strengthen upper back and shoulder muscles that are underused or neglected with push wheeling. Row wheeling actively engages these muscles, which play a crucial role in maintaining proper posture and shoulder health, as well as facilitating self transfers (perhaps into one of these new wheelchair vans!).
Row wheeling uses fundamentally different bio-mechanics by actively engaging several large upper body muscles and using longer propulsion cycles, all of which is great for your upper body. This moderate increase in a wheelchair user’s cardiopulmonary output could result in long-term improvements in endurance, stamina and overall cardiovascular health.
Studies that compare pull versus push-based propulsion have concluded that pulling reduces the number of strikes on the handrim (strokes) needed per given distance traveled (cadence). For example, a study that was conducted in 1992 found that pull wheeling required about 20 fewer strokes per minute than push pulling. Rowheels’ geared hub was specifically designed so that for every strike on the handrim, the wheel turns 1.3 times more, will reduce the effort required by the wheelchair user.
Bottom line: this combination significantly reduces a wheelchair user’s stroke count. This will directly contribute to reducing the onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well as other repetitive stress injuries.
Rowheels understands how important it is for wheelchair users to fit and feel good in their chairs. That’s why they designed the Rev1, which can be adjusted and customized to meet the individual needs of most users. Rowheels are compatible with most wheelchairs, including Quickie, TiLite, Invacare/Top End, Colours and Ki Mobility. They offer a variety of wheel sizes, tire types and handrim styles.
You can find more information about Rowheels the Rev1 at http://www.rowheels.com.
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