Exercises for Older Adults Who Use Wheelchairs

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Suitable Exercises for Seniors in Wheelchairs

Exercise is important for all aging adults, no matter their level of mobility. Though being in a wheelchair may make physical activity more challenging, there are many exercises a senior can do despite this limitation. If your senior loved one uses a wheelchair, these exercises can keep him or her healthy and strong. 

Endurance Exercises

Your loved one will need upper body strength and endurance to propel a manual wheelchair. You can help your parent get aerobic exercise that increases endurance by purchasing an inexpensive tabletop bicycle. This one piece of equipment provides dual benefits because your loved one can pedal using his or her arms or legs. Your parent can start by exercising in 10-minute increments and gradually increasing sessions to 30 minutes at a time. 

Caring for a loved one with limited mobility can be a challenging task. Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care Reston, a leading provider of at-home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Strength Training Exercises

Bicep curls, chest presses, and overhead presses are perfect for building upper body strength and can easily be done in a seated position. To increase lower body strength, suggest your loved one try seated marching or knee extensions. Your parent can use small dumbbells, ankle weights, or exercise bands for added resistance. Encourage your loved one to work each muscle group 2 to 3 times a week. 

Flexibility Exercises

Muscles and joints can become stiff and tight as we grow older. Your loved one can loosen tight shoulder muscles by stretching one arm overhead as high as possible and then using the other arm to try to extend it even further. Your parent can increase hamstring flexibility by putting his or her foot on a couch or table, straightening the knee, and then leaning forward slightly until he or she feels the muscle at the back of the thigh begin to stretch. Performing 5 to 10 stretches on each side several times a day can help your loved one stay flexible. 

A professional caregiver can help your loved one exercise in safety and comfort. If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Reston, senior home care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Balance Exercises

Core strength and balance can enhance posture and prevent your loved one from falling out of the wheelchair. To work the core muscles, have your loved one scoot to the edge of the chair and sit up as straight as possible. Your parent should tighten his or her abdominal muscles and hold the position for 5 to 10 seconds. Have your loved one perform 3 to 5 repetitions of this exercise several times during the day. 

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Reston elder care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help. To learn about our quality-assured services, give us a call at 703-556-8983 today.