People in wheelchairs benefit from aerobic exercises.
Aerobic exercise increases your heart and breathing rates, bringing more oxygen to your muscles. Regular aerobic exercise helps you maintain proper body weight and boosts your mood, energy and circulation. It keeps your heart and lungs functioning well. Many aerobic exercises are practiced by people in wheelchairs. Get your doctor's approval before starting a new exercise program.
Reach up with one arm at a time, as though you're picking fruit from a tall tree. Breathe in as you raise one arm and breathe out as you raise the other arm, alternating sides with each repetition. Open your hands wide to stretch your fingers as you reach up. Do eight reps and then three more sets. Rest for 10 seconds between each set. This exercise lengthens your spine while it improves circulation and range of motion. It even benefits your fingers, according to Sit and Be Fit.
March in Sitting
Raise one arm and the opposite leg, and then change sides as though you are вЂњmarchingвЂќ in place. To increase your heart rate, exaggerate the movements by lifting your legs and arms higher. For less exertion, do not raise your arms in this exercise. This exercise works your quadriceps muscles, located in your thighs just above your knees. It stabilizes the knee joint and strengthens the muscles you need to get up from a chair, according to Mary Ann Wilson, RN.
Row in a Chair
You'll get the aerobic benefits of raising your heart rate and improving lung function as you work your biceps, triceps, chest and upper-back muscles in the rowing exercise. Raise your arms out in front of you at shoulder level. Bring your hands in toward your chest, and take your elbows back as far as you can without straining. Begin circling your elbows in a rowing motion. Feel your shoulder blades drawing closer together each time you bring your elbows back. Do three sets of 12 rowing circles, pausing to rest for four breaths between each set.
Set Your Goals
For best results, set a weekly goal of at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobics or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Break this up into increments as small as 10 minutes each if you choose. Spread out aerobic activity throughout the week. It is also beneficial for those in wheelchairs to do weight-resistance exercises two or more days per week, according to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability. Moderate- to high-intensity resistance training helps build muscle strength and endurance.
Warm Up and Cool Down
The Cleveland Clinic recommends warming up and cooling down for at least five minutes in each session. As you begin, gradually increase the pace and intensity of your exercise. This slowly increases blood flow to the muscles and decreases the chance of injuring a muscle or joint. A cooldown goes in reverse. You are gradually slowing the pace of your movements. Light stretching may feel good after aerobic exercise, when your muscles are still warmed up.