Wheelchair Flexibility Exercises for Seniors: The Easiest
Finding workouts that you can do as a senior can be difficult enough, but it’s considerably more difficult when you’re wheelchair bound. But don’t worry; there are lots of wheelchair exercises for seniors available to keep you strong, flexible, and healthy. To name a few, try the sitting forward bend, seated foot taps, and wheelchair push-ups.
With wheelchair exercises for seniors intended to increase your flexibility and to stretch your body to help prevent soreness, you will probably move your trunk a lot, and therefore may want to use a wheelchair belt to make sure you don’t fall out of your wheelchair.
You’ll probably move your body a lot while doing wheelchair exercises for seniors to develop your flexibility and stretch your body to help prevent pain, so you’ll want to use a wheelchair belt to keep from falling out.
Seated forward bend in wheelchair
The spine, neck, and shoulders will all benefit from this stretch.
- Curl your spine forward and tuck your torso between your thighs.
- Allow your arms to hang down to your feet and your head to hang relaxed and heavy towards the earth.
- Hold for 30-45 seconds before progressively rising up one vertebra at a time.
Knee to chest
This move will stretch your hamstrings while strengthening your arms, shoulders, and core.
- With both hands, grab the back of one thigh.
- Keep your core taut and braced.
- Lift your leg as high as you can comfortably with your shoulders and arms.
- After 30 seconds, carefully lower the leg.
- Rep on the opposite side.
Sit and Reach
This exercise’s lengthening action will stretch your sides and neck.
- Raise one arm up to the ceiling.
- Reach through your fingers and stretch the same side of your body as far as you can.
- Keep your eyes up at your hand as you turn your head.
- Hold for ten seconds.
- Repeat on the other side.
Cardiovascular Wheelchair Exercises for Seniors
Cardiovascular exercises raise your heart rate and are important for heart health as well as weight management. You will gain numerous benefits even if you exercise at a low level.
Seated Foot Taps
If you can move your lower legs, this exercise can raise your heart rate for several minutes. Your heart rate will increase as you move faster. Aim for five minutes of exercise each time you perform it, and strive to increase the time each time.
- Begin by lightly touching your toes to the ground.
- Bring one leg forward and tap the ground with the heel.
- Point the toes of both feet down and tap both toes on the ground while keeping one foot forward.
- Raise the front foot’s toes and touch the heel on the ground once more.
- Return to the starting position with your feet.
- Rep with the opposite foot.
This exercise will strengthen your obliques while also increasing your heart rate. The faster you go, the greater the impact. To make it more enjoyable, try doing this exercise in time with your favorite song.
- Raise your hands to chest height in front of you, elbows bent, palms facing away from you, fingers pointing to the ceiling.
- Gently point your knees to one side of your wheelchair if you have some leg and hip movement.
- Twist your upper body in the opposite direction of your knees while keeping your core firm.
- Twist your upper body and knees in the opposite direction.
- Twist for three minutes on each side, alternating sides.
Wheelchair Exercises for Strengthening
Exercises that assist you maintain muscle tone are really important. Some of these exercises can be completed without the use of any equipment, but others may require the use of light dumbbells or a resistance band. Any of these exercises can be done quickly to make them into a strength and cardiovascular workout.
Pushups in a Wheelchair
This workout helps build your arms, shoulders, and chest without requiring any additional equipment.
- Take both of the wheelchair armrests in your hands.
- Maintain a firm core.
- Push yourself off the seat of your chair with your arms until they are straight or as high as they can go.
- Slowly lower yourself back down, rather than allowing yourself to fall.
Start with ten reps and gradually increase the number of reps each time you execute the exercise.
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You’ll need dumbbells for this exercise to help you increase arm strength. Alternatively, you might stretch a resistance band behind your wheelchair while holding one end in both hands.
- Take a firm grip on the dumbbell or the end of the resistance band with your arm fully extended, elbow straight, and palm facing forward.
- Slowly close your elbow and elevate your hand as high as you can while keeping your upper arm against your side.
- Return your hand to the beginning position by slowly lowering it.
- Start with eight curls on each side and gradually increase the number as your strength improves.
Overhead lifts are a great way to strengthen your shoulders and triceps. For this exercise, you’ll need dumbbells. You can work on one arm at a time or both at the same time.
- Place the dumbbell in front of your shoulder, with your upper arm against your side and your hands facing inward.
- Slowly drive your hand straight up towards the ceiling, originating in your shoulders, while keeping your core firm.
- Slowly return to the beginning position once your arm is fully extended.
- Start with eight pushes each arm and gradually increase the number as you gain strength.
Extensions of the Triceps
Tricep extensions are a good choice if you want to focus on the back of your arms. For this workout, you’ll need a dumbbell, and you can do one or both arms at once.
- With your arm completely extended overhead and your hand reaching for the ceiling, hold a dumbbell in your hand.
- Bend your arm and lower the dumbbell to the back of your shoulder, keeping your elbow pointed towards the ceiling.
- Raise your hand slowly back to the beginning position.
- Start with five reps on each arm and work your way up to ten.
Pull Aparts with Bands
A strong back is an important component of a strong core, and being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t strengthen your back. Try this move with your resistance band.
- With both hands, grab the middle segment of the resistance band and hold it about two feet apart.
- Pull your shoulder blades together so that your arms come apart, stretching the band, while keeping your shoulders back and down.
- Extend your arms as far as they will go, ideally all the way to the side.
- Return to the starting position slowly.
At first, try to execute this exercise five times, then progressively increase the number of times you do it.
(Tip: You can do this exercise with your arms completely extended in front of you or with your elbows bent and fists in front of your shoulders; however, if you do it with bent elbows, your hands on the band should be closer together.)
Exercise for Seniors in Wheelchair
Everyone knows that exercise is beneficial to the body, but it is also beneficial to the mind. It can make you feel better, relieve stress, boost your energy, and help you sleep better at night. Don’t assume that just because you’re in a wheelchair, you can’t benefit from wheelchair exercises. No matter what your objectives are, you still have a wide range of possibilities!
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