July 22, 2022
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Importance of Fitness for Disabled People

People suffering from long term injuries or different disabilities tend to have a lifestyle that is not very active and importance of exercises is much higher for them as compared to other people.


As per USDHHS or U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, those people who have disabilities need to:
  1. Get about 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular activity or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio workout every week.
  2. Such cardio workout should be of minimum ten minutes duration.
  3. Get more than two sessions of high or moderate intensity exercises every week which help to develop strength and these exercises should cover all the main muscle groups.
In case it will not be possible for you to follow these above guidelines due to injury or disability you have then what you will have to do is try to keep yourself occupied in physical activities whenever possible.
Next we will look at fitness exercises which can be performed by people with injury or disability and by those with diabetes or obesity problem.
Fitness exercises if there is disability or injury
Even if there is injury or disability in upper body, it is possible to perform various cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, walking, using an elliptical machine or take help of flotation aids for swimming. But in terms of strength training, the amount of free weight you can lift will get reduced as would the resistance level for the resistance bands. It will also be important to discuss your situation with physical therapist before starting any fitness routine.
Various options for improving physical fitness
  1. Isometric Exercises: These are exercises which are suggested by physiotherapists to people with joint problems caused due to injuries or arthritis. Isometric exercises are useful in improving muscle strength as well as reduce muscle deterioration. In this type of exercise the person has to exert force and push against any immovable object and the force can be exerted against some other body part without any movement of the joint.
  2. Electro Stimulation: In case someone suffers muscle loss after any injury or immobility for long duration then this type of electro muscle stimulation is utilized for improving blood circulation and also motion in the muscles. This method makes use of electric current for slowly contracting the muscles and improving flexibility of those muscles.
Fitness Exercises for People Confined to Wheelchair
There are people who suffer injuries or have disability in the lower part of the body, some of these people may also be experiencing weight problems, are suffering from diabetes or are seniors trying to avoid dangers of fall, all these patients have the option of doing wheelchair bound exercises.
There are chair exercises for improving flexibility and cardiovascular activity which in turn will help to lower back pain as well as improve your posture. Similarly, these exercises assist in lessening body sores which appear if you sit in same position for several hours at a stretch. Let us check some of the things you need to keep note of before doing such chair exercises.
  • Select a chair in which knees can be kept at ninety degrees while you are in seating position. If it is a wheelchair then properly set the brake to make it totally immobilized.
  • At the time of doing exercises always sit straight and utilize the abs for maintaining good posture.
  • In case you are suffering from problem of high blood pressure then monitor the pressure at the onset and stay away from exercises which make use of weights.
  • Lastly, check blood sugar, before as well as after doing exercises in case you are taking medication which can result in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Types of Wheelchair Exercises
In this section we will look at different types of cardiovascular, strength training and flexibility exercises which can be performed while sitting in a wheelchair.
  1. Cardiovascular exercises on a wheelchair
  2. Strength training on a wheelchair
  3. Flexibility exercises on a wheelchair
Cardiovascular Exercises on a Wheelchair
Different chair aerobics which involve a number of repetitive movements will help to raise the heart rate as well as assist in burning calories. These exercises with repetitive movements will provide aerobic benefits plus assist in loosening the stiff joints.
  • Resistance exercises can be performed by wrapping any lightweight resistance band beneath the wheelchair and doing exercises like chest press with 2 seconds down and 1 second up count. Additionally, perform other exercises and at the beginning attempt 25-30 reps for each of the exercises. Gradually as endurance improves you will have to increase the reps and also the overall workout time.
  • You can also try air punching without any type of hand weights and is known as a simple cardio exercises which can be performed while sitting on the wheelchair. It can become a fun activity when tried with Xbox 360 or the Nintendo Wii games.
  • There exists several pool therapy programs offered by different health clubs and swimming pools for wheelchair bound members and can be good way of performing cardio exercises.
  • In some of the gyms you will find machines especially designed for wheelchair training making rowing as well as arm-cycling a possibility. If you want to perform these exercises at house then there are pedal machines available which you can secure to any table and do similar exercises.
Strength Training on a Wheelchair
Quite a few of the normal exercises focusing on upper body strength training can be easily performed while in seated position by making use of things like resistance bands and dumbbells. Any other object which is weighted will also provide the same benefits if you are able to hold it in your hand properly. Let us now go through some of the exercises you can perform:
  • Do bicep curls, shoulder press and triceps extensions utilizing more resistance and weight as compared to cardio exercises. In each of the exercises try to do 2-3 sets with each having 10-13 repetitions and continue to add more weight with improvement in strength.
  • You can attach a resistance band with a doorknob or your wheelchair and use it for shoulder rotations, pull downs and arm extensions.
Flexibility exercises on a wheelchair
There are many flexibility exercises which can be performed even when you are seated on a wheelchair and one good example of it is chair yoga.  Let us briefly look at chair yoga as a way of improving your flexibility.

Chair Yoga: Many of the yoga poses can be easily adapted based on the needs of a person whether he is suffering from any disability, weight or medical problem and injury. Chair yoga has been proven to be quite useful for people with injuries, disabilities and medical conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and obstructive pulmonary disorder.

If you are sitting on wheelchair for prolonged hours then you will know that it can result in a lot of pressure as well as pain in muscles and this problem can be solved if you continue to stretch various body parts throughout the day. There are different types of yoga postures which can also assist in improving range of motions and improve flexibility. To learn these yoga postures you can purchase instructional videos, join yoga classes or work with a private teacher.