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Adaptive Fitness Programs Help Wheelchair Users Stay in Shape

Adaptive Fitness ProgramsIf you thought exercising was just for able-bodied persons; think again. Today, adaptive fitness programs have become increasingly popular for individuals with all types of disabilities and limited mobility. Those who haven’t tried adaptive fitness would be pleasantly surprised to learn just how many exercise and fitness routines they can accomplish. Not only do these programs help improve physical strength, they lift the spirits of mind and body.

Individuals with disabilities who maintain a sedentary lifestyle are at a greater risk for obesity and other related health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of adults with disabilities are considered obese. This is more than 50 percent higher than those without disabilities. And children with disabilities are at a higher risk as well.

Research shows that wheelchair users who exercise regularly are likely to alleviate pain in the muscle or joints, build bone/muscle mass, enhance their range of motion, prevent injury, improve balance, and increase endurance.

It’s because of these benefits that fitness programs are increasingly becoming popular among many wheelchair users. This includes water-based cardiovascular exercises and other wheelchair workouts, which are meant to increase endurance and raise the heart rate. Exercising in water help supports the body, thereby, reducing the risk of muscle or joint discomfort. But there are also rowing machines adapted for wheelchair users.

Another popular wheelchair fitness program is strength training exercises. They help prevent falls, improve balance, and build muscle/bone mass through the use weights or other resistance. If you have limited mobility in your legs, then an inclusive fitness instructor will advise you to focus on upper body strength training.

Flexibility exercises are also popular given that they help reduce pain and stiffness, prevent injury, and enhance range of motion. Flexibility exercises include yoga and stretching workouts. Moreover, stomach exercises help strengthen the abdominals, back muscles and also help maintain a healthy body weight.

Drive your wheelchair conversion van to an inclusive health and fitness center near you. In an effort to encourage individuals with disabilities to participate in inclusive fitness programs, the Inclusive Fitness Coalition in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine and National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) promote accessibility at health and fitness clubs nationwide. In addition, they provide fitness facilities with a wide range of resources including the ASTM standards for Inclusive Fitness Equipment and a Certified Fitness Trainer educational program for instructors.

Image Credit: Army Medicine | Flickr

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