Whether you are new to using a wheelchair or have used a chair for years, you may be facing health challenges like depression or obesity. These conditions, which affect many Americans, are commonly reported by wheelchair users. These conditions can hurt your quality of life and impact your overall health.
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can improve your mood and outlook while reducing your risk for further health conditions. Follow these five tips for help living healthy as a wheelchair user.
Weightlifting and resistance exercise helps maintain the health of your bones and muscles while burning calories and preventing injuries. These workouts can also be easily adjusted to fit your abilities. For instance, you may do only upper body workouts, lifting dumbbells in your chair. If you have leg movement, you can also use ankle weights to care for your leg muscles.
Before beginning any exercise routine, talk to your physician or physical therapist to ensure it is safe for you. They can help you design an exercise plan that’s right for your body and can help you achieve your health goals.
Avoid Sugary Beverages
When you use a wheelchair, you don’t burn as many calories in a day as a person without mobility concerns. This lower calorie burn can make it challenging for you maintain a healthy weight.
One easy way to ensure you don’t take in too many calories each day is to avoid sugary beverages or drinks with lots of calories. Instead, stick to water, coffee, tea and other low-calorie drink options.
Practice Good Posture
It’s important to keep your back in a good posture all day to avoid problems with the bones and tissues in your spine. Good posture and changing positions can also help prevent sores.
To achieve good posture, you may need to work on strengthening your core muscles in your abdomen and back. A physical therapist can help you design an exercise program to improve posture and core strength.
Care for Your Mind
If your physical health is affecting your mental health, it’s important that you speak to a psychiatrist or psychologist who has experience working with people with physical disabilities. You can use different kinds of therapy to help improve your mental health, which in turn helps you improve many other aspects of your health.
Practice Good Self-Care
It’s easy to get caught up in the day caring for others, completing work or completing other tasks. Always be sure to take time to care for yourself through good self-care practices. Self-care can help both your physical and mental health and can include activities like:
- Take a long, relaxing bath or shower
- Spending time on hobbies like reading
- Going outside on breaks at work
- Taking a lunch break every day
- Asking for help when you feel overwhelmed
- Spending time with friends and family
- Keeping a journal
You can also seek out therapies like music therapy, art therapy or other resources to help you manage stress and practice good self-care.
A healthy lifestyle can help you feel stronger physically and mentally. Speak to your doctor about other ways you can improve your well-being.