Five Exercises for Wheelchair-Bound Seniors

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When we think about exercising, the typical images our minds draw up include standing more, taking the stairs, or going on a job. But unfortunately, these movements aren’t a possibility for seniors who are wheelchair-bound.

Seniors in wheelchairs often experience restricted movements and limited mobility. Yet living a happy, active, and independent life is still important for them! We have outlined 5 exercises below that will keep wheelchair-bound seniors healthy and strong while improving their daily lives.

Shoulder Retractions

Sit up straight and keep your abs contracted, then hold your arms at shoulder level. Keep your hands facing down and curve the fingers like you’re gripping handles. Then push the arms out straight in front of you and extend them as far as you can without locking the joints. Next, bend your elbows and pull your arms back until the elbows are just slightly behind the torso. Now squeeze together your shoulder blades and repeat.

Chest Squeezes

Sit straight up with your abs engaged and hold a medicine ball (or a balloon!) at chest level. Squeeze the ball between your hands to make the chest muscles contract and then slowly push the ball outward until your elbows are straight, but be careful not to lock the joints. Continue squeezing the ball through the entire movement, then pull the ball back towards your chest and repeat. 

Toe Taps

While keeping your feet flat on the ground, sit up straight with your abs engaged. Then just tilt your toes upwards and then back down towards the floor. Repeat this motion several times over.

Knee Lifts

Sit up straight, engage your abs, and keep your feet flat to the floor. Raise one leg slowly and bend your knee, then lift your leg up as high as you can comfortably go. Now lower your foot back to the floor and repeat these same motions again with your other leg. Continue these motions and alternate legs each time.

Aqua Training

Aqua training exercises and swimming are great ways to get out of the wheelchair and into the water to stay active. For seniors, exercising in water provides extra benefits like decreased joint discomfort and better support of the body.

For more information on physical activity for your wheelchair-bound senior, or for details about our senior home care programs, please call Home Care Assistance to schedule your consultation!