Anyone with a disabled family member knows there’s a lot of care that goes into ensuring they have a happy, healthy life. Wheelchair accessible vehicles can help with the “happy life” part because they give your loved one a reliable way to be mobile, rather than relying on others for their transportation needs. But what about the “healthy life” part? Read on for tips on helping your family member stay healthy and fit.
Exercise is the Best Medicine
While it’s true that being handicapped can limit your ability to lead an active lifestyle, you may be surprised at how many options there are to combat this.
Wheelchair exercises increase flexibility and strength, strengthen the lungs and heart, and help with weight-control and digestion. By increasing their muscle-tone and mobility, the wheelchair-bound will also experience an increase in self-esteem, which is always a good thing.
Which exercises should be the focus of your loved one’s workout? Strength training—usually done with dumbbells—are essential for building the upper body strength that is necessary for the wheelchair bound athlete. Alternately, resistance training that can be performed with resistance bands (or even your own body weight) is a great way to stay in shape.
Like a Breath of Fresh Air
Another way to stay healthy is to be sure to get out and breathe fresh air as often as possible. When someone is handicapped, it is easy to remain indoors, but this can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency, which can in turn lead to depression and various ailments. Whether this means going on regular outings to parks and other outdoors venues, or staying at Handicapable Camp or other similar places, taking a foray out into nature will not only provide your loved one with a good, healthy dose of fresh air and sunshine, but will rejuvenate their spirits as well.
An Apple a Day
In addition to physical exercises, it’s important to be sure your handicapped loved one eats properly at all times. When house- and wheelchair-bound, it is easy to snack your way through the day, or lose interest in eating healthy.
Be sure to stock the kitchen with healthy snacks and encourage your family member to maintain a healthy, sensible diet at all times. It is my experience that, if the previous two steps are implemented on a regular basis, this one follows naturally. However, as a licensed dietitian, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this and emphasize its importance.
As you can see, being handicapped doesn’t mean that you have to lead a sedentary life, nor does it mean that your loved one’s health should be neglected or overlooked. Everyone benefits by living a healthy lifestyle, so get out there and do something!
Guest Blog by: Nan Gibbons, contributing writer at http://www.eatbreatheblog.com.
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