Exercise Tips for Power Mobility Device Users
(This is the third part of a three-part series on use of power mobility devices and staying active)
Here are a few ways to increase your physical activity at regular intervals during the day. Keep in mind that you do not have to exercise all at once and that doing something several times a day for 5 minutes or so is just as good when it comes to keeping the calories off the waistline. NCHPAD has many resources on how to increase your physical activity (some designed for individuals who have limited or no use of their legs and/or arms), and I have listed just a few of these examples below. We also have some great exercise videos for wheelchair users (including one for individuals with paraplegia and another for individuals with tetraplegia), and we've just completed a new exercise video for individuals with limb loss. Contact our information specialists if you need more suggestions at (800) 900-8086, or go to our website at http://www.ncpad.org/ShopIndex.
Tips for Increasing Your Physical Activity
Overhead tricep extension with elastic band
- In the morning before your day gets started, keep a set of wrist weights by your bedside, turn on the radio, and move your arms for 5 to 10 minutes while listening to your favorite upbeat station to get your heart rate moving. Or tune in to the news or some comforting music to perform slower, more relaxing movements while you plan the day's activities or meditate. There are some great books on tape that can help you focus on your mental and emotional health while performing a brief exercise routine. Many people find the morning a great time to exercise. This extra routine will net you another 20 to 40 calories.
- Learn something new! Maybe you didn't think that you could do certain activities such as yoga or aerobics but now you know that there is always a way to adapt any activity to meet your needs. For example, chair yoga can be performed in a firm chair or in a wheelchair. It can benefit circulation, range of motion, strength, and lung capacity, in addition to helping reduce stress and muscle tightness. For more information, watch a video clip on Chair Yoga exercises at http://www.ncpad.org/647/2626/Week~13~Video~Tip~~~Chair~Yoga.
Seated row with elastic band
I am a big proponent of fitness centers because there are many different types of exercises that can be done with the upper body, including such activities as swimming or working out on accessible weight machines to strengthen the upper body (e.g. cable/pully systems). One could also participate in an aerobic exercise class using the upper arm muscles to complement the movements that other participants perform using their lower body muscles, or using an arm cycle ergometer in a spinning class. Many facilities such as YMCAs and park districts offer discounts to members who are on fixed incomes. Therefore, if you can afford a fitness membership, it would be good to join a facility close to your home or work, because they are great places to not only exercise, but to also meet some of your neighbors. For a listing of programs in your neighborhood, click http://www.ncpad.org/directories/15/Programs
NCHPAD Videos demonstrating seated exercise:
- SCI Paraplegia / Tetraplegia DVD
- Exercise Program for Stroke Survivors DVD
- Exercise with Limb Loss DVD
- Core and Stability Exercises for Stroke Survivors
Please send any questions or comments to Jim Rimmer, NCHPAD Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.