A recent CNN report stated that the fitness industry generates more than $94 billion a year. In fact, the success of gyms and fitness studios is so entrenched in our lives that fitness apps and online exercise classes managed to thrive during the 2020 pandemic. Let’s look at wheelchair fitness.
How do you feel about exercising? Do you like to exercise before you have your first cup of coffee in the morning? Are you someone who only exercises six weeks before the holidays or planned reunions? Whatever your fitness level, it’s an unavoidable fact that experts have proven that regular exercise will improve your health. However, for millions of people, their physical health doesn’t allow them to jog through their neighborhoods in the morning or enroll in a Zumba class at a local gym.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of all Americans live with some form of disability. Within that number, 13.7% of those with disabilities rely on a wheelchair to help them with their mobility. If you or someone you love uses a wheelchair, you may wonder: How important is regular exercise to my physical and mental health? Is there a wheelchair that can aid me in achieving my fitness goals?
Before we can answer these questions, let’s take a quick look at the history of fitness.
A Brief History of Exercise
Since the beginning of human history, physical fitness has played a vital role in achieving good health, personal recognition, and spiritual enlightenment. Cultures from around the world influenced the way we view physical fitness and how we achieve it. For example, from 2,500 – 250 B.C.E., China and India honed their pursuit of well-being and self-improvement by developing what would eventually become Kung Fu and Yoga, respectively.
The Greeks took their love of physical activity to the next level by creating the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C.E. From Ancient Greece, we also gained our appreciation (or obsession) with the “perfection” of the physical form. In the Greek city of Sparta, a warrior’s prowess was measured by his physical fitness—a concept that is still adopted by militaries and professional athletes down to this day.
Through the centuries, physical activity continued to evolve until it emerged in the mid-20th century as the model we practice now. Today, people enjoy a hybrid of low-impact strength-building routines such as yoga or the barre method combined with high-octane, fat-burning endeavors like kickboxing or cycling.
Why has exercise endured through the ages? The main reason physical activity continues to have a place in our schools, communities, and homes is because of its widespread benefits. What are those benefits?
Six Benefits of Wheelchair Fitness on Physical Health
For decades, scientists have expounded on the benefits of regular physical fitness. One of those sources is the Mayo Clinic. According to the Mayo Clinic website, there are seven key benefits of regular exercise.
- Helps regulate a person’s weight
- Improve a person’s mood
- Boosts energy
- Promotes better sleep
- Enriches social interaction and self-confidence
- Fights diseases like heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and much more
The Benefits of Wheelchair Fitness on Mental Health
We may all be familiar with the physical benefits of regular exercise, but did you know that physical fitness also impacts our mental health? A recent report released by Walden University highlighted five benefits of fitness on your mental health.
- Helps fight depression and anxiety
- Boosts memory and brainpower
- Decreases stress levels
- Increases self-esteem
- Improves sleep
Fitness vs. Wheelchair Fitness
Regular exercise is vital to our physical and mental health. Those needs are not diminished because we use a wheelchair. Does limited mobility mean that we can’t protect ourselves from some of the health risks associated with inactivity? What are the benefits of engaging in a daily physical fitness routine if we are wheelchair-bound? Is it possible to do yoga from a wheelchair?
Five Benefits of Exercising in a Wheelchair
Do you or someone you love need to use a wheelchair for mobility? If so, then regular exercise is an essential part of supporting your physical and mental well-being. In what way does exercise benefit your life?
- Provides an emotional boost/fights mental illness.
- Improves stamina and muscle strength.
- Alleviates muscle and joint pain
- Improves circulation
- Lowers the risks of pressure ulcers (bedsores)
The Challenges of Wheelchair Fitness
Trying to find the best exercise program that meets our needs can be a challenge for anyone. When considering the limitation of a spinal injury or neuromuscular disease, our search for a safe, balanced workout program may go from irritating to daunting in record time. If you or a loved one faces this dilemma, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are programs available to meet your specific needs, and it surely helps to have a suitable wheelchair to aid you in your fitness goals.
Group-3 Power Wheelchairs
A group-3 power wheelchair, known as a rehab chair, is most commonly used by severely disabled patients due to diseases like late-stage Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Muscular Dystrophy (MD), or Spinal Cord Injury (SCI).
Some of the differences between a group-3 power wheelchair compared to other chairs include:
- Equipped with rehab seating
- Offers 2 or more advanced positioning features
- Allows for more independence and better access in the home environment
- Delivers improved clinical health benefits because of advanced positioning
The Redman Power Chair Difference
While the traits listed above are elements of all group-3 power wheelchairs, it would be a mistake to assume that all group-3 wheelchairs are the same — especially when it comes to fitness.
The Redman Power Chair is the only wheelchair in its class that includes a “yoga” position – including the ability to arch your back instead of just taking you to a straight stand. The Chief 107-ZRx is designed to allow you to move your body into multiple positions that provide additional stretching and strength-building benefits.
The fluidity of movement built into the Redman chair allows the user not only to flex more muscle groups and tendons, but the chair also reduces the risk of pressure sores and other abrasions associated with repositioning and weight shifts.
Do the fitness benefits of a Redman Power Chair stop there? No. Redman users have expressed appreciation for the chair’s unique leg lift feature, which helps stretch the heel cords. The ability to stretch the heel cords helps to build strength and reduce spasticity in the calf muscles and other muscle groups connected to the ankle. An effective heel stretch also plays a role in alleviating pain in the legs and back.
Why Is Yoga Important?
If you didn’t think that practicing yoga was within your reach, you might be wondering why having a yoga position on a wheelchair is personally beneficial to you. Yoga is one of the most recognized fitness methods globally because of its ability to decrease stress and improve flexibility. If you are dependent on a group-3 wheelchair, here are some of the benefits of the Redman Power Chair’s vast body positioning options.
- Builds Strength
- Prevents Back Pain
- Improves Flexibility
- Supports Joint Health
- Improves Circulation
- Teaches Better Breathing
You’ve Got the Moves!
There is no way around the fact that your life has been deeply impacted if you need to use a wheelchair. However, you can still mentally and physically thrive. A big part of that success is rooted in the wheelchair you choose. The Redman Power Chair is unmatched in its quality, versatility, and reputation. The ability to increase circulation, improve bladder control, reduce pain, and build strength doesn’t have to be a dream. Contact Redman Power Chair today to learn how the Chief 107-ZRx can help you reach your fitness goals, and so much more!