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How to Exercise Safely in a Wheelchair with a Friend

It is essential to keep in mind that all exercise is beneficial to your overall health. If you or someone close to you have mobility limitations it can make regular exercise routines challenging and discouraging. It is important to push through the negative feelings to reach the main goal of being healthier. One of the best ways to push past negative connotations with exercising, even if you are in a wheelchair, is to do it with a close friend or relative for support.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, we offer workout activities, so be sure to check with our Activities Directors for independent senior living to see if there are any programs already available. If you would like more privacy then you and a friend can follow this guide for exercising with mobility restrictions.

No matter what your physical limitations or situation is, just grab a pal and get moving!

Talk to Your Doctor

Before starting any workout routine, it is important that both you and your workout partner run any routines by your primary doctor to ensure it is safe for you. You need medical clearance if you are facing mobility limitations, weight problems, or any illnesses. Be sure to notify them of your lifestyle goals and inquire about the following questions.

  • How many days a week can I exercise and for how long?
  • What activities should I avoid?
  • What exercises should I focus on?
  • Should I avoid or take medication around my exercise routine?

If your doctor does not have any specific exercises to perform or to avoid, then you and your workout partner should follow up with a physical therapist. Be careful to mention your medications and any conditions either of you is experiencing.

Start Slow and Gradually Increase

If you or your workout partner have not exercised in a while it can actually be harmful to jump into an intense workout. You need to allow your body, heart, and mind to ease into this new lifestyle. The best way to do this is to start off slow, be sure to do all the necessary stretches, and gradually increase your activity level. Wheelchair warm-ups generally include neck and arm stretches.

Create a Routine and Stick with It

Once you and your workout partner know what types of exercise activities are best for you and how often you should be active, you can come up with workout routines to do together. A general time allotment would be working out for 45 minutes 3 to 5 days a week. A great way to ensure you will stay dedicated to your routine is to set short-term goals and reward yourself once you reach them. Just because your exercising does not mean it has to be a bad time, put on the TV or listen to music to make your workout more enjoyable. The plus side of working out with a buddy is that you can chit-chat during the routine and will make the time burning off calories go by much quicker!

Stay Safe

If you are a senior and living independently it can be dangerous to work out alone. We want everyone to stay as safe as possible when it comes to working out. If you do not have a workout buddy, you can hire a physical trainer or go to workout classes for seniors. Also, be sure to stop working out if you experience any pain and consult with your doctor before resuming a workout. Be sure to warm up, cool down, and stay hydrated.

Everyone can benefit from working out, even if you face mobility limitations. Just find a workout buddy, talk to your doctors, find your routines, and stay safe. If you want some more exercise tips that coincide with independent senior living, check out our Health and Wellness program to help you get started!