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What Exercises Can You Do From Your Wheelchair?

Wheelchairs are excellent mobility solutions for those who have trouble walking or maintaining their balance. However, wheelchair users should not be underestimated. They still have the ability to do much of what everyone else can do. And that includes exercising.

Exercise is important for us all. But for those who use wheelchairs, exercises need to be modified so that they can be done safely and so that their maximum benefits can be received. So what types of exercises can you do from your wheelchair?


Traditional pushups are those that require a person to lift his/her body weight using only his/her arms from a horizontal position. Wheelchair users can perform their own version of pushups from seated positions. As Tom explains on 1800wheelchair.com, pushups are a great source of strength training for those who use wheelchairs. He provides some clear instructions on how to do them safely.

“Apply the brakes on your wheelchair and place your hands on the armrest,” Tom instructs, “Holding the armrest, lift your body a few inches off the seat and slowly sit back again. Repeat this five times and increase the number of sets gradually. Take breaks in between and be careful not to overexert.”

Bicep curls.

A wheelchair user’s upper body strength is important for his/her safety and ability to manoeuvre the wheelchair around. In addition to pushups, wheelchair users can strengthen their upper bodies by working on their “guns”. Bicep curls and arm extensions can be performed with resistance bands or dumbbells. If you’re using resistance bands, be sure to secure them to firm objects before beginning the workout.

“Resistance bands are a great way to incorporate strength training into the fitness routine of an individual who works out while in a wheelchair,” writes Molly Clarke of Disability Benefits Help, “Small and flexible, these bands can be fastened to the wheelchair for convenience and portability. Resistance bands can be used for many different types of exercises that can be done anywhere.”

Chair aerobics.

A cardio workout is still very much possible for a wheelchair user. Any workout that creates a rise in one’s heart rate is great for promoting one’s overall health. On HelpGuide.org, Lawrence Robinson and Dr. Jeanne Segal highlight the fact that beneficial cardiovascular exercises can be performed while sitting in a chair or wheelchair.

“Chair aerobics, a series of seated repetitive movements, will raise your heart rate and help you burn calories, as will many strength training exercises when performed at a fast pace with a high number of repetitions,” they write, “In fact any rapid, repetitive movements offer aerobic benefits and can also help to loosen up stiff joints.”

At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we proudly offer both manual and electric wheelchairs. Most manual wheelchairs can are easily foldable – allowing for easy storage and transport in a vehicle. For those who experience difficulties with self-propelling, an electric wheel chair is a great alternative to easily travel within the home and into the community.

If you have any questions about the wheelchairs offered by LifeCare Mobility Solutions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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