Weight Management, Exercises and Diet for People who use Wheelchairs

Jul 11, 2017
Tagged with: Weight Management, Exercises and Diet for People who use Wheelchairs

You don’t need to feel that your disability will keep you stuck with excess weight because even as a person with a disability there are many ways you can remain active and manage. The key to activity and weight loss lies in a healthy diet and exercises which concentrate on the abilities that you have rather than focusing on your limitations.

Start off with having a talk with your doctor about any changes in diet that you will be making after going through this article, before actually making them, or any exercises that you may want to start. However, if you have heart problems, diabetes or any medical problem other than these, you should definitely consult your doctor as these conditions can critically be affected by any activity and dietary changes.

Your doctor may recommend you to test your blood pressure, composition of the body, health condition, and blood glucose so that you are out of any problem before getting down to sweat.

Once you get the green signal from your doctor, work out around your lower body disability. Your upper body will benefit from cardio and core workouts and strength training for arms, shoulders and abdomen muscles.

For cardio, you have to incorporate aerobic exercises, these exercises are great for your heart as they keep your heart rate up and pumping, giving you a better stamina, burning calories and keeping the body well supplied with blood from a strong heart. Seated Zumba is one such activity that many wheelchair users have come to enjoy. There are many online tutorials for it and an entire movement for the project, and it can be incorporated by modifying the moves that require legs and lower torso to arms and upper body. As it’s combined with music, you can burn up to 500 calories while having a lot of fun.

Boxing is another amazing activity that can give you your cardio fix without needing to use your legs. Many wheelchair users including my own family members have done it and they have all reported benefits same as those of a conventional cardio like sprinting. Wheelchair boxing isn’t just a sport for Paralympic professionals but it’s an activity that you can easily join as well. To not lose the balance while boxing, a chest strap can be worn before you get down to beating that punching bag. Wii also has boxing games which are very physically engaging, and an hour of playing can help you burn up to 350 calories. Other seated exercises like chair yoga, arm biking and simply going for a push up hills is enough to make you work your heart.

You will need to do a cardio workout for at least 60-90 daily minutes to be able to lose weight. Start off in the beginning for 30 minutes and continue increasing the time according to your comfort. Other than cardio you can also incorporate strength training and weight training as it will build your muscles and increase your metabolism, helping you burn fat faster. Start by working out with weights for three days of the week for around 30 minutes each and allow 24-48 hours for rest between the workouts. Your biceps, triceps, pectorals, abdomen muscles, wings, shoulder and back can all be exercised with free weights or dumb bells. You can also do pushups with your hands on your wheelchair lifting your body up and repeating for a few sets.

While exercising is important it’s also vital to have a good diet as you can make up for the limitations on your movement by having a healthy diet to manage your weight and reach your maximum fitness. Try to avoid empty calories that you may be consuming from fatty junk food, fried food, sweet confectionaries and refined flour. Have mostly fresh fruits, veggies and lean protein cooked in healthy ways and whole grains in your daily diet. A good diet will give you enough nutrition and energy to sustain your body’s internal functions in a healthy way, keeping diseases to a minimum by boosting your immunity and promoting optimal order. You can also consume super foods to amp your nutrition and indulge in herbs and teas that help with weight to assist your diet and exercise efforts.

Don’t forget to eat enough to be able to retain and feed the muscles you have been working on while sweating it out during cardio. In an attempt to lose weight you are not to reduce your calorie intake under your age and sex’s daily caloric need because if you do you will end up burning muscle when your aim was to burn fat. This happens when we are undernourished because the body will try to store anything you eat as fat and will instead shed the glycogen stored in the muscles and water weight.  Remember to never push yourself to exhaustion as weight loss is a long process that takes months to achieve and it’s unnatural to push the body through extreme exercise or harsh diets.


Author: Zyana Morris