Sunday, April 14, 2024

6 Essential Wheelchair Exercises for Seniors

Old age comes with many challenges, and one of them is limited mobility, which might require you to be wheelchair bound.

Regardless of such constriction, you can still lead a normal, happy and fulfilled life, especially when you regularly exercise your body. And being a wheelchair bound senior cannot stop you from exercising regularly and enjoying the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

There are hundreds of wheelchair exercises that you can try out. But knowing a few of those exercises and doing them daily is all you need to effectively achieve your fitness goals.

In this article, we have helped you to compile the 6 best and most essential wheelchair exercises for seniors and some of the benefits you can derive from doing those exercises regularly to have a fit and strong body.

6 Best Exercises for Wheelchair Bound Seniors

The various exercises that we shall be discussing below aren’t just the best for your daily exercise routine, they are equally essential to help you maintain a healthy and comfortable lifestyle. The follow exercises will work on your core, abs, waist, legs and your overall body to give you a complete fitness.

1. Arm Stretches

This simple exercise will effectively work on your arm and upper body region.


It can be done when you comfortably sit in an upright position and gradually extend your arms out in the front while interlacing your fingers. Gradually raise your arms as high as possible while keeping your hands clasps together. Then proceed to slowly lower your hands downward. You can do this exercise repeatedly for 5 to 10 minutes regularly, and slowly increase the duration as you become used to the exercise.

2. Knee Lift

If you can still move your lower body, especially your legs, this is a good exercise to engage in. It will greatly help to keep your knees and lower body energized and strong.


Start by holding on to your wheelchair. While sitting comfortably in the chair, begin to gradually lift your knee up as high as you are capable of reaching. Don’t go too high if you won’t feel comfortable. Once your knee is up, stay like that for a few seconds and gradually bring your foot back to the floor. Do this process again for at least 5 to 6 times before repeating the same exercise with the other knee.

For a start, you can spend 3 to 5 minutes for each knee and increase the duration as you master the exercise.

3. Swimming Strokes

You don’t have to be in the pool before displaying your swimming skills. You can always do that while on your chair and still get a good result on the core parts of the body that swimming helps to take care of.


Imitate the swimming strokes 5 to 7 times by using your arms. You can also alternate it by doing different types of swimming strokes like backstroke, butterfly, and freestyle. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes for a start, and gradually increase the duration to 15 minutes as you get used to it.

4. Taking a Deep Breath

Breathing in and out is another essential simple exercise that most people take for granted. However, you’ll be amazed to know the various health benefits it gives to your body. It is a great exercise that can lower your stress level and make you feel relaxed.


Simply start this exercise by breathing through your nose and gradually exhale slowly by using your mouth. You can repeat this cycle for about 15 go 30 seconds, and do the exercise for 5 to 10 minutes or more. It all depends on you and how great your breathing technique is.

5. Abdominal Twist

Here is another great exercise that works effectively on your waist, spine and upper body in general.


Sit on our wheelchair in the upright position while maintaining a straight spine. Slowly extend our spine as you twist your upper body to the left while holding the position for about 10 seconds before switching sides. This exercise can be done for 5 to 10 times on each side. It all depends on how long you can go.

6. Shoulder Openers

This type of exercise requires a dowel or broomstick to perform. It’s a great exercise that works well on your shoulders and arms.


While sitting in a comfortable or upright position, hold the broomstick in a strong grip with your hands as you maintain a position that is wider than your shoulders. Begin to gradually raise the broomstick above your head as you maintain a straight arm. Then stretch the broomstick behind your head for about 5 to 10 seconds until you can feel a stretch. Repeat this process 5 to 10 times or more for optimum result. However, you can do this exercise for a longer duration once you get used to it.

Benefits to Derive from Exercising in Wheelchair

  • It makes you feel relax, good and boosts your overall health and wellness
  • Exercising in wheelchair helps to increase your flexibility, mobility and strength
  • It makes your blood circulate properly, gives you a stable posture and stabilizes your spine
  • It helps to reduce your stress level and equally maintains your fitness level to a large extent
  • It helps you to fight obesity and keeps your weight in check
  • Exercising in wheelchair tones your muscles and relieves you from joint pains if you are suffering from one.


Being wheelchair bound should not restrict you from exercising regularly, especially if you are a fitness enthusiast. As a matter of fact, exercising your body has various benefits it does to your health as discussed above.

It is pertinent to note that being a wheelchair user would require you to do some consultation with your doctor on the best exercise for you, especially if you are on medication.

Once you’ve gotten your doctor’s approval for all or some of the exercises that we’ve discussed in this article, you are good to go on with your exercise routine as you continue to lead a healthy lifestyle.

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