Cardio Exercises For Limited Mobility Fitness

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Engaging in heart healthy exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and a long life. The mood boosting powers of exercise are just as important, as exercise can ease depression, stress, anxiety, increase self-esteem, and improve a person’s overall outlook on life. For those with limited mobility, participating in cardiovascular activities may seem more difficult. However, there are many creative and easy to do workouts for people with disabilities. 

Wheelchair Exercises 

Wheelchair Sports

There are a variety of wheelchair sports ranging from basketball, track and field, volleyball, and weightlifting. Add some competition to your workouts and get your friends involved to make exercise fun.

Chair Aerobics

Chair aerobics, a series of seated repetitive movements, will help to raise you heart rate which results in burned calories, muscle strength, and often the loosening of stiff joints. Here are some sample exercises to try out:

  • Wrap a lightweight resistance band under your chair (or bed or couch, even) and perform rapid resistance exercises, such as chest presses, for a count of one second up and two seconds down. Try several different exercises to start, with 20 to 30 reps per exercise, and gradually increase the number of exercises, reps, and total workout time as your endurance improves.
  • Simple air-punching, with or without hand weights, is an easy cardio exercise from a seated position, and can be fun when playing along with a Nintendo Wii or Xbox 360 video game.
  • Many swimming pools and health clubs offer pool-therapy programs with access for wheelchair users. If you have some leg function, try a water aerobics class.
  • Some gyms offer wheelchair-training machines that make arm-bicycling and rowing possible. For a similar exercise at home, some portable pedal machines can be used with the hands when secured to a table in front of you.

Strength Training 

A large number of weightlifting exercises can be done from the sitting position, making them perfect for those in a wheelchair. Strength training is especially important for those in a wheelchair, as it can increase endurance and the ability to be mobile longer without getting tired when a person is wheeling their own chair. Some strength training exercises include:

  • Perform exercises such as shoulder presses, bicep curls, and triceps extensions using heavier weights and more resistance than for cardio exercises. Aim for two to three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each exercise, adding weight and more exercises as your strength improves.
  • Resistance bands can be attached to furniture, a doorknob, or your chair. Use these for pull-downs, shoulder rotations, and arm and leg-extensions.

Flexibility Exercises

Chair Yoga is a fun way to increase flexibility for those in a wheelchair. Most yoga poses can be modified to fit the degree of mobility available for a person. Other exercises include stretching throughout the day to help reduce pain and pressure in your muscles.

About the Author: Jim is a guest contributor from Global Lift Corp., the leader in ADA compliant pool lifts.