Seated Wheelchair Exercises for Seniors

For those seniors living in a wheelchair, an exercise regimen may seem hard to come by. There are so many well known outlets for non-wheelchair users, that it can feel as though those that do need a chair have been left behind. Yet, contrary to popular opinion, exercise is not simply something reserved for runners, jumpers, and divers!

In fact, there are a myriad of chances to work out for those who are currently living in a wheelchair. A home health care aide could tell us that there are home work-out videos, seated yoga poses, and even some wheelchair senior basketball leagues!

The following will focus on some simple seated wheelchair exercises that seniors can do from the comfort of their own home. These exercises can be accomplished alone, or with the help of a physical therapist or home health aide.

Raised Knee Lift

The raised knee lift is a great exercise to practice coordination while toning the quads and hamstrings. To begin, seniors should sit straight in their chair with both feet planted on the floor. If possible, they should try and engage their core. This can be accomplished by aligning their head over their heart, and their heart over their pelvis.

Once in this position, seniors should slowly lift their right foot, maintaining a ninety degree angle. The goal is to lift the leg as high as is comfortable for the elderly individual. Once they have met their proverbial edge, the senior should try and hold the extension for at least one breath cycle.

After holding, the senior can replace their leg back down. Repeat with the other leg for at least ten repetitions.

Extended Side Angle

The extended side angle is great for both strengthening and lengthening the core muscles. To begin, seniors should adopt the same beginning position as the raised knee lift. The overall goal is to start with the spine in alignment and the abs engaged.

To start the exercise, seniors should raise their right arm straight towards the sky. A home health aide or caregiver can adjust if the elderly individual is clenching their shoulders. With their right arm raised, the senior can now lean the entire body to the left. The goal is to create a side angle that extends from the arm, to the crown of the head, and ends with the spine.

Once this angle is adopted, the elderly individual can return to the beginning position and repeat with the other side.