Being limited in mobility does not mean that your health has to go as well. It is pertinent that despite being restricted to your wheelchair, your body and mind remain in good shape for you to maximise the enjoyment of life. Keep yourself physically able to do the activities you want to and be physically independent. However, though keeping fit whilst constrained to a predominantly sedentary lifestyle isn’t a simple task, it is accomplishable but more importantly,
The first focus should always be on your mindset. Don’t think that just because you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you can no longer do exercise. These physical limitations should never translate to mental or emotional ones. And in fact, there are plenty of exercises out there especially adjusted for those in wheelchairs. This is a perfect opportunity for you to develop a more muscular upper body to assist yourself when moving around in your wheelchair sufficiently. Aim to do regular aerobic exercise daily whilst incorporating strength training at least twice a week. Below are some links offering seated exercises you can do in the comfort of your home.
Another major factor is your diet. Maintaining your weight by eating the right foods already puts you halfway there; you will feel physically and mentally healthier, making your daily life run much smoother. Being in a wheelchair will mean it may be harder to burn off as many calories as you used to; however, if your diet is kept in check, this will not be a problem. Try to eat as clean as possible, cutting out excess sugars and fats. Choose fruits and foods that are filling but low in calories. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, or oatmeal do just the trick. If those foods don’t sound like your cup of tea, you can still enjoy the foods you like; you simply need to find the right ones, the healthy foods which you enjoy.
For rehabilitation, the link below provides some leg strengthening exercises, however, a short walk at your own pace will do just fine too. The key is to be persistent with your recovery. Keep in mind, resources online will not replace an actual physiotherapist.
Article by Jaren K. Y.
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