7 Effective Exercises for Seniors in Wheelchairs

September 13th, 2018 by John Wilson

Several studies prove wheelchair users are uniquely susceptible to a variety of physical problems, which all stem from lack of muscle use. However, there are certain exercises senior care services in OKC recommend to help keep seniors who are wheelchair-bound in better health. The following exercises are effective options to ensure active seniors.

Endurance Cycling

You may not be able to sit on a bicycle—even a stationary one—at this point in your life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some exercise from cycling at the same time. There are tabletop cycling machines you can use to either cycle with your arms to develop or maintain your upper body strength. You can also place it on the floor to use with your feet.

Chest Presses

Upper body strength is extremely important when it comes to operating a wheelchair. This will make it easier for you to get around and maintain more independence. Wrap a resistance band around the back of your wheelchair at shoulder level, then hold your arms at a 90 degree angle to your body. Seniors should then straighten your arms as far as possible without locking your elbows. Hold for a few seconds before relaxing.

Toe Taps

It’s important to keep leg muscles in good shape, especially for those who are wheelchair-bound. One exercise that is great for those in senior communities is to place the feet flat on the floor while sitting up as straight as possible. Alternatively pull the toes up toward the ceiling and place your feet back on the floor.

Wheelchairs can't stop active seniors.

Active seniors can get exercise, even in wheelchairs.

Knee Lifts

Similar to toe taps, seniors should sit up as straight as possible with their feet flat on the floor. However, instead of lifting your toes toward the ceiling, lift your entire leg at the knee as if you were marching in place. This can help keep your muscles active and healthy.

Shoulder Retractions

Similar to the chest presses, you can strengthen other areas of your upper body by placing your arms in a similar position without the resistance band. After pressing your arms forward as far as possible without locking your elbows, draw them straight back, bending at the elbows, until your elbows extend slightly behind your back, pressing your shoulder blades together.

Tummy Twists

A strong core is essential if you spend a lot of time in a wheelchair. To perform this exercise, place your arms straight down at your sides and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle forward. Then simply twist your body to the left and right, stretching your core gently.

Side Bends

Most people have done this exercise at some point in their lives, even without being confined to a wheelchair. The good news is it can still be an effective exercise no matter your level of mobility. Raise one arm over your head. Keep your arm close to your head, and bend toward the opposite side, creating somewhat of a C shape. Hold this stretch to make it more effective.

If you’re looking for quality senior care services in OKC for your active senior, contact us. We encourage all of our residents to stay as fit as possible.

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