It is possible to shed pounds and become healthier from your wheelchair!

Jodi Davis

| 4 min read

Walking is my passion. I do it every day and enjoy every single step that I take. Walking allowed me to lose over 160 pounds and has permitted me to keep the weight off for over ten years, which has given me an entirely different outlook on life. I’m a much healthier and happier person ever since I left the morbidly obese life. My ultimate goal is to help everyone struggling with obesity realize that they can walk off their excess weight.
But now I realize that there are individuals who are motivated by my weight loss success and wish to do the same but they can’t follow in my footsteps. Why? Because they can’t walk at all.
This was brought to my attention by my relative Jerry. He said, “I just read your 16 things you need to do to lose weight, but those are all for able bodied people. What about people like me, we can’t walk. Any clues for someone like me? I REALLY need help.” Jerry is confined to a wheelchair and he wants to lose weight. Obviously, I want to help him do that!
I feel it is important for anyone who is confined to a wheelchair to focus on the muscles and body parts that they can move. Trying to get that heart-rate up and that blood flowing is the name of the game! Let me also stress to each individual, wheelchair bound or able bodied: please talk to your physician about any new physical activity or weight-loss program you are considering and the restrictions you may have.
Also, keep in mind that it is highly recommended you stretch before beginning any exercise session in order to prevent injury. gives a detailed warm-up routine that can help you get started. After the warm-up has been completed, it’s time to work out with weights, starting off with 2 or 3 lb. pound weights, whichever you prefer. Sit straight up with one weight in each hand and stretch out your arms to your sides. Take a deep breath in before you begin and slowly let it out as you lift the weights over your head. Then, take another deep breath in as you lower the weights to your side. Repeat.
Next take a weight in one of your right hand and with the left hand grasp the right elbow for support. Curl the weight up slowly bending your right elbow. Slowly straighten your right arm (to the count of ten) and then curl it yet again. Repeat. Switch weight to left hand and repeat entire process. Each day try to increase your count.
The University of Iowa Health Care advises doing wheelchair push-ups, which is using both your left and right arm to lift your body while sitting upright in your wheelchair. At first you may find that you can hold this position for only a couple seconds, but try to do this several times per day. As time passes, you should be able to hold yourself up for at least ten seconds at a time, if not longer!
Resistance training that uses a stretchable rubber cord, or fitness band is also a suggestion. Wrap one of the ends of a large sized bad around a secure item. Hold on to the other end of the band with your right hand and slowly bend your arm pulling the band towards you. Now slowly extend your right arm. Try to do this ten times. Repeat with left arm.
Those are just a few of the suggested wheelchair exercises I found, but there are many more that will truly increase that heart rate! The cardiovascular exercises that can be done from your wheelchair include sports such as wheelchair basketball or racing, along with rowing and seated aerobics. Water aerobics, swimming along with yoga can also benefit those who use wheelchairs.
I also want to mention healthy eating since it contributes significantly to a successful weight loss. Some of us have food or beverage vices that we need to eliminate in order to shed those pounds.
But one of the most important pieces of advice I share with those who desire to lose weight is believe in yourself! Realize that you can lose weight and nothing is going to stop you … NOTHING!
Thank you, Jerry, for bringing this to my attention. I hope this helps you, along with several other individuals, on a journey towards weight loss success.
Photo credit: gibsonsgolfer

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