Fitness Regardless of Mobility

Easy to use in a wheelchair
Staving Off Aging Through Healthy Exercise

Elderly individuals have limited mobility and without strength training and exercise routines, their quality of life will be limited as well. If your elderly loved one is already in a wheelchair or has limited mobility, they can still do some exercises that will allow them to stay fit.

Resistance bands
One of the best exercises for an individual that is in a wheelchair is resistance bands. Your loved one does not need to get up out of the wheelchair to do any of the exercises. Using the resistance bands, your loved one can strengthen practically every muscle in his or her body. Here's how: Have your loved one follow these tips:

Let's start with your arms and shoulders. Take the resistance bands and fold them in half, grab the handles with one hand and slid the other hand all the way down to the end. Now, pull the resistance bands behind the head and push out 15-20 times, take a break for 30 seconds and repeat this process 2 more times. This will strengthen your shoulders and triceps. To strengthen your arms, grab both handles and then place the cord around the bottom of your foot. Push your foot out and against the pedal on your wheelchair and then pull up with the resistance bands, allowing you to do some bicep curls. Now, for your legs, place the resistance bands around the bottom of your foot and hang onto the cord by the handles. Slowly kick your leg out until the resistance cord is completely flexed and then bring your foot back in, bending at the knee. This will strengthen all of your leg muscles.

Weight training
Another great way to exercise in a wheelchair is to use some small weights to do some simple weight training exercises. Use free weights of about 5-10 pounds. Sit straight up in your wheelchair. Bend to one side, allowing the weight to pull your arm as far down as possible then sit up straight and bend to the other side. This weight training exercise routine will help to strengthen your core muscles, giving you stronger abdominal and back muscles. Using the same free weights, hold your arms down and then do some bicep curls. After bicep curls, lift the weights above your head and bend your elbows behind you and then lift up, this will help to strengthen your triceps.

Strength training
Even though you may be wheelchair bound, you can still do some great strength training exercises. In addition to lifting weights, sign up for a water aerobics class. The water aerobics class will allow you to work on strengthening all of your muscles. You can do everything from abdominal crunches to leg raises, and the water will support you and your joints so you do not feel pain and you do not need to worry about losing your balance and falling down. Water aerobics also include water weights which you can use to do bicep curls, triceps lifts, and other great arm exercises. Try to attend water aerobics at least 2 days per week to give your body a great workout.

Security pole with curved grab bar
Additional exercises - Any time you begin an exercise program, you need to warm up and cool down for 5 minutes at a time. Stretch the muscles well to keep them loose and limber. If you would like to do squats, you may need a support bar that will help you stand up and squat down. A nice support bar like this can be moved freely around your home. The curve in the bar will allow you to perform a variety of different exercises other than squats; you can also use it to do crunches as it can help you pull yourself up after being on your back. Use it to keep your balance while you are performing lunges.

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About The Caregiver Partnership.  Lynn Wilson founded The CareGiver Partnership based on her experience in caring for loved ones as well as providing the highest level of customer service. She takes pride in offering personalized service that helps her customers find the best solutions for their individual needs. Now that her children are grown, Lynn enjoys spending time with her granddaughter while also helping to care for her mom. To find out how The CareGiver Partnership can serve you, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CDT.


Anne Pringle Burnell said...

Wonderful... thanks for sharing. I utilize resistance bands, hand weights, and weighted toning balls in my chair-based exercise programs. I have seen amazing results, and have received letters of tremendous progress from seniors and those with limited mobility.

Keep up the great work!


Amy Farr, L.P.N. said...

As a nurse caring for seniors the past 17 years, I have seen the benefits of resistance and weight training exercises. Not moving is NOT an option. It leads to contractures, and premature death.
Excellent article!

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