Even if you use a wheelchair exercise is vital to health. Making time amongst the continual stuggle of balancing ones life may be difficult but it is not impossible. Working out and balanced nutrition go hand in hand.

Many people are simply not naturally attracted towards physical exercise. For someone in a wheelchair there may be a real and understandable fear of pain.People confined to a chair are all too familiar with shoulder, neck and back strain and it's associated pain.

But the benefits must be firmly borne in mind. Structured physical activity will strengthen the core muscles, improve balance and circulation, improve the quality of sleep and help with digestion.

In addition the person will feel and look better. There will also be some relief of musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, cramps and stiffness.Aerobic work strengthens the heart and lungs and in conjunction with a diet will assist weight loss. Additional benefits are a lessening of the risk of such disabilities as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis.

One aspect of regular exercise which cannot be over-emphasized is its importance in maintaining good emotional health. People with disabilties may (like anyone else) feel angry, depressed, frustrated and confused. Regular workouts will help to fight depression.

As one wheelchair user puts it "If you can move something you can exercise." This is not to suggest that forming new positive habits as an adult is easy.

Increasing numbers of wheelchair users are adopting exercise plans. Young people especially can see that in some instances it is possible to be in a wheelchair and have a strong, healthy body.

Before embarking on a program it is extremely important to discuss the matter with a medical doctor, physical therapist or accredited personal trainer to establish exercise restrictions and any potential medical complications

.The following observations were made by people who are themselves wheelchair users. All point out that it is necessary to be highly focussed and not be discouraged.Each session should be carefully planned. This not only saves time but allows for advance decisions on which exercises are to be undertaken. They recommend always having some activities which are personally enjoyable. You can always lift weights while watching tv.

If a person has not been physically active for sometime a transitional plan to strengthen key muscle groups and increase movement range through stretching excersices is recommended. There should be a rest day between workouts and no concentration on the same muscle groups for two consecutive sessions. Aim at a minimum of three sessions a week. At the beginning of a session it is vital to warm up and stretch gently and at its end to cool down for about ten minutes.

A fitness regime needs resistance, and strength training as well as exercises which stretch the muscles.Resistance training involves working with equipment such as expandable rubber bands. These can be used for pull-downs, shoulder rotations and arm and leg extensions. Strength training involves weights and will help make practical tasks such as pushing the wheelchair, holding items and transferring in and out of a wheelchair much easier.

Once a commitment has been made to an exercise program the next question is how, where and with whom. Equipment need not be a major expense. Soup cans, water bottles, beach and volleyballs and many household items can be used while working out. Exercise bands, medicine balls and weights are not expensive to purchase.

There are a number of wheelchair exercise machines for home use such as Vitaglide as well as hand-cyclers and other cardio equipment.

Some people will be in a position to engage a personal trainer who will be able to design suitable work-outs, teach how to use the fitness equipment properly, help with transfers from gym machines and keep the client motivated.

Many gyms are unfortunately not designed with wheelchair users in mind. In the past ten years gyms aimed exclusively at clients who use wheelchairs have been springing up in the United States. Equipment in such establishments will have been specifically selected and is likely to be highly adaptable.

People who are working out on their own at home could workout to videos specifically designed for people in wheelchairs. There is a growing list of such videos often produced by medical practitioners.

Besides these forms of exercise there are organized sport for those who are competitive. Included in this category are basketball, archery, and fencing to mention a few. Then there are also many forms of wheelchair dancing.

If you don't exercise you should most certainly do so because it seems that normal wheelchair use is not by itself sufficient. Creating an exercise plan and following it will give a feeling of accomplishment and of taking responsibility for ones own body. Good luck!

Author's Bio: 

Dzagbe Cudjoe is a Dance and Movement Therapist, Intuitive Counselor, Healer and Ethnologist with a keen interest in promoting Dance as a means of achieving Mind-Body-and-Spirit integration... She is the author of the e-manual "Dance to Health -Help Your Special Needs Child Through Inspirational Dance". Dance to Health