It is important that people who use wheelchairs maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow the guidelines set out by health authorities to achieve this. Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 are advised to do at least two and a half hours of moderate level exercise and muscle strengthening a week while also eating a healthy diet. This applies to everyone, wheelchair user or not. There are obviously some differences between a wheelchair user and non-wheelchair user, but leading a healthy lifestyle can be just as easy and fun.
Take Part in Wheelchair Sports
Participating in a wheelchair sport is a fantastic way to keep fit and also make new, likeminded friends. Depending on your interests there are a range of sports available, from the more physically intense wheelchair basketball and rugby, to badminton and tennis. If you’re the competitive type then many clubs will compete regularly in leagues or tournaments, but others will allow you to just train with them too.
Search online for a club to join near you, though if you live out in the countryside you may need to travel a bit further. Allied Mobility has plenty of specialised wheelchair accessible vehicles to suit your needs.
Just as wheelchair users should follow the same exercise guidelines, you should also follow similar healthy eating advice. It can be harder for wheelchair users to lose weight due to generally doing less activity and bowel irregularity is more common because of this.
To combat this problem and avoid putting on weight it is important to eat plenty of fibre. Switch to granary and multigrain bread; eat porridge for breakfast and pasta in the evening. Stick to lean protein sources, more fish and chicken than red meat and bulk out meals with vegetables. Drinking plenty of water is vital to prevent constipation as well.
Wheelchair users should focus on particular muscle groups when looking to strengthening their bodies. Pushing a wheelchair on a daily basis uses your chest and shoulder muscles a lot, while largely ignoring your back. For this reason it is good to exercise back muscles and supporting muscles in your shoulders for pushing your wheelchair.
Resistance bands can be used at home to help strengthen these areas or use specially adapted gym equipment available in certain sports centres. Swimming is also a great, all-round muscle strengthening and aerobic workout that requires no extra equipment.
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