What Kinds of Exercises Can Your Elderly Loved One Do if She’s Confined to a Wheelchair?
Elder Care in Plainsboro NJ
Before your loved one starts any kind of exercise program, it’s a good idea to check with her doctor. He can recommend specific exercises for someone who spends a lot of her time in a wheelchair or send your loved one to a physical therapist for further help. If he recommends doing whatever feels comfortable for her, these exercises might be enjoyable.
Marching in Place while Seated
This type of exercise is best suited for someone who still has the ability to move her legs but uses a wheelchair because walking is difficult for her. To start, simply have your loved one pretend to be marching in place without having to stand. You might want to do only a few repetitions, allow her to rest, and then do a few more. You can also rotate through exercises, coming back to each one later.
Rotating Her Upper Body
Rotating her upper body allows your loved one to stretch the muscles in her torso. One way to do this is to have your loved one rest one hand on the arm of the wheelchair and slowly rotate toward that hand. If she’s flexible enough already, she can then place the opposite hand on the same arm of the wheelchair and hold the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Making Circles with Her Arms and Shoulders
Your loved one’s arms and shoulders can get tight from disuse or from stress. Try having her hold her arms out to the sides and circling them in small circles in a forward direction. After a few repetitions, reverse the circles to the opposite direction. She can then do the same thing with just her shoulders.
Your loved one can do arm lifts with either empty hands or with light hand weights, depending on her health and her strength levels. She can lift her arms in front of her or out to the sides with straight arms. She can also try bicep curls in front of her and to the side.
If your loved one is able to periodically stand without her chair, then practicing standing can be a good exercise for her to try. Help her to stand up from her chair and then help her to carefully sit back down again.
Work with your loved one’s elder care provider to determine the best times to try exercise with your loved one.