Being healthy in a world of delicious unhealthy foods is not an easy lifestyle to adopt. Being healthy as a wheelchair user in a world of unhealthy delicious foods is an even harder lifestyle to adopt. Obesity is common among wheelchair users and it's something every wheelchair user should fight to avoid.
For some, being in a wheelchair came later in life after an accident, for some it came at birth, for some it might have came gradually with an illness, however it's nothing to be ashamed of or depressed about.
People in wheelchairs often report problems maintaining a healthy weight. They also suffer from mental health issues more than others, but this does not necessarily have to be your situation. It's possible to live a healthy life in a wheelchair if you follow the 10 tips listed below.
1. Engage in Cardiovascular Exercise.
Cardiovascular exercise is just as important for you as it is for any other adult. It is necessary to maintain the health of your heart and lungs. Your goal will be to raise your heart rate and become warm enough to begin sweating, and you can accomplish these goals by swimming, playing basketball or wheelchair sprinting. Wheelchair users should push to do this daily. The arms can become your new legs. It's rare to see wheelchair users going out for a long stroll in their wheelchair but it's something that should be more common.
2. Begin Weight Training.
Pushing a wheelchair is work that can lead to injuries because you are constantly engaging your shoulder and chest muscles while your back muscles are neglected. To prevent these injuries, incorporate muscle-strengthening exercises into your regular exercise routine. These will build up your back muscles and help to prevent injury in your shoulders. Free-weights are great for wheelchair users. There are now many bodybuilders who are in wheelchairs. This could be a trend that grows.
3. Reduce Calories & Go on Diets with Low Calories.
Because you aren't as mobile when you are in a wheelchair, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy weight. One thing you can do is make sure that you eat low-calorie foods or fruits and vegetables. Also, try substituting foods that are high in fat with those that are high in protein or carbohydrates because foods high in fat contain more calories than the alternatives. A raw vegan food diet is great for cutting calories and increasing nutrients. The TR90 diet is a low-calorie diet that's not bad tasting and healthy focused foods. The South Beach Diet is a good diet as well.
4. Alter Your Beverage Choices.
Sodas are known for causing people to gain unwanted weight. Rather than choose to drink these high-calorie beverages, drink water instead. Water can make you feel full and keeps you hydrated. Low-fat milk is another excellent beverage option that gives you the added benefit of providing you with the calcium your bones need each day. Cutting alcohol is always a great idea. Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down the function of the central nervous system. It makes people gain weight as well.
5. Get a Good Night's Sleep.
It can be hard to find a comfortable position, so obtaining a good night's sleep can be difficult. To combat this problem, purchase a body pillow that you can place in between your legs to prevent one leg from applying undue pressure onto the other one.
6. Maintain Good Posture When Sitting.
Sitting comprises a large part of your day, but it can lead to scoliosis, pressure sores and the inability to breathe correctly. For these reasons, ensure that you maintain good posture at all times. The best plan is to keep your feet, knees, hips and shoulders in a straight line as you sit.
Stretching helps to maintain your mobility by keeping your joints flexible, and it only requires that you hold the stretch for about 30 seconds. The entire routine can consist of just a few stretches each day. These movements ensure that your body is comfortable when being moved in different directions and improves bodily circulation. Stretching is awesome and much needed for all wheelchair users.
8. Be Mentally Healthy.
Your mental health is directly connected to your physical health. Many people experience depression. They may begin to feel worthless because they cannot do as many things for themselves as others can. They can also experience anxiety. These conditions are treatable with counseling and medication, so be sure to talk to your doctor about it if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Be mentally healthy and you'll discover you'll be healthier and happier in all that you do.
9. Obtain Treatment for Pain.
Pain is a common problem for wheelchair users. If you are experiencing pain so severe that it interferes with your quality of life, inform your doctor. Your physician can help you find pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical solutions to this problem.
10. Prevent Pressure Sores.
Maintaining one's position for a long time can cause pressure sores. Prevent this malady by using pillows that relieve pressure, keeping your skin clean and changing your position every other hour.
Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons