The holidays are a special time filled with fun, laughter, togetherness and of course… lots of food. It’s no surprise that one of the top New Year’s resolutions that people make is wanting to lose weight. Inconveniently though, New Year’s Day is in January. People give up their resolutions for several reasons. Sometimes things come up in life. Other times, they make excuses that ultimately stem from a lack of motivation. For example, being forced to find creative ways to exercise in winter can really kill the good intentions that they may have had to get in shape. While you will have to take the steps to exercise consistently to reach your goal, we can provide you with some ideas to show you that you can indeed exercise in your wheelchair in the winter.
Before you begin any kind of wheelchair exercise regime, speak with a medical professional, whether your physical therapist, primary care physician or other health care provider to obtain medical clearance. They will be able to recommend what activities are best suited for your workout routine based on your disability or medical condition.
Wheelchair Exercises at Home
There are exercises that you can do in your wheelchair at home. You can find many resources for free online, such as tutorials through YouTube and other video sharing websites, articles dedicated to talking about exercise for wheelchair users and even entire blogs dedicated to staying fit with a disability. Wheelchair exercises can include dancing, yoga and even strength training. With a quick search online, you can begin exercising in your wheelchair today.
If you are exercising on your own, make sure you stretch beforehand to warm your body up for the exercise that you’re about to do. It will help you avoid possible injuries. If you feel discomfort at any time during the workout, stop exercising immediately, as it can result in an injury.
Wheelchair Exercises in Fitness Groups
Joining a fitness group or exercise class gives you the benefit of exercising indoors, while also having community to back you up and even hold you accountable. Although it may be more difficult to find fitness classes specifically for wheelchair users, many exercises can be modified so that wheelchair users can exercise alongside able-bodied individuals. Unlike working out on your own at home, you won’t have to worry about stretching before your workout, because fitness instructors typically incorporate stretching as a part of their class.
Reach out to your local gym(s) and see if they can offer adapted versions of their classes for wheelchair users. Water aerobics classes can be a great option for wheelchair users with limited mobility, as they support the body and reduce the risk of muscle or joint discomfort.
Wheelchair Exercises Outdoors
If you are not bothered by cold weather, there are several activities that you can do outdoors, including participating in adaptive winter sports. Much like taking a fitness class, many of these sports can be done with other people, giving you the benefits of exercise and being in a community. For example, join a sled hockey team or try skiing. Even though skiing is an individual sport, once someone learns the proper techniques for safely skiing, they can ski right alongside able-bodied skiers.
Still, some sports do allow you to workout individually, such as adaptive snowboarding, if you prefer. If you are interested in learning more about adaptive sports, their rules and how you can get involved, we recommend checking out our articles on sled hockey, adaptive skiing and adaptive snowboarding.