8 Essential Healthy Living Tips for Wheelchair Users
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone but particularly for wheelchair users. Wheelchair users often struggle to maintain a healthy weight and they suffer more from mental health issues than most people do – this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are 8 helpful tips for wheelchair users.
Engage in cardiovascular exercise to maintain the overall health of your heart and lungs. You need to raise your heart rate and become warm enough to sweat in order for it to be effective.
There are a number of different exercises wheelchair users can engage in, like swimming or wheelchair basketball. Manoeuvring a wheel chair can put strain and pressure on certain muscles in your upper body, muscle-strengthening exercises can help to avoid unnecessary strains and injuries.
- Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Make sure you get a good night’s rest, to make this easier you need to get a comfortable wheelchair that can be adjusted according to the height of the bed. If you struggle to shift on the bed from your wheelchair then that can affect the quality of the sleep you get. To get a good night’s rest you need to stay calm and relaxed before bed, this won’t happen if you get all worked up and frustrated instead.
- Get The Right Wheelchair
Wheelchairs come in all shapes and sizes these days, and can get bought by a range of different budgets. Buy the best wheelchair your budget will allow and make sure that it is comfortable for you. There are different wheelchairs for different purposes; lightweight transport wheelchairs are great for visiting the doctor and any other place where you will have a loved one or caregiver push you around. Transport chairs are lighter and more compact which makes getting around easier. Electric wheelchairs with adjustable height are more expensive than standard wheelchairs but they are highly recommended for when you want to get around by yourself.
- Prevent Pressure Sores
Pressure sores are a problem most wheelchair users have; these are caused by maintaining the same position for an extended period of time. These can be prevented by using pillows to relieve the pressure. It is so important to keep your skin clean and to change your sitting position every few hours. There is a common misconception that pressure sores take a lot of pressure for a long time to create problems – this isn’t true, pressure sores take just a little bit of pressure that is applied continuously for less than an hour to start a chain of negative effects.
- Maintain Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is a basic and necessary requirement of a human body to help it stay healthy. Taking a shower or bath at least once a day is essential for everyone, especially if you are wheelchair bound. So many wheelchair users avoid this because they either don’t have waterproof wheelchairs or they don’t want to accept help from their caregiver as this compromises their privacy. There are many ways to make showering work for wheelchair users so make sure that you find the way that works for you because you need to shower regularly – being clean is a great mood booster as well.
- Good Posture Is Everything
Sitting is such a large portion of a wheelchair user’s day, it is imperative that good posture is maintained always. The general rule is to keep the shoulders, hips, knees and feet in a straight line. If good posture is not maintained it could lead to terrible pressure sores, scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and it could even affect breathing. It will reduce undue stress on your body and improve your overall comfort when you’re in your wheelchair.
- Mental Health Awareness
Your mental health and physical health go hand in hand. Many wheelchair users experience depression and feel like they are a burden to their loved ones and society. Anxiety is also a major concern for wheelchair users, being partially or completely reliant on someone else to help you can be traumatizing to your mind. Most, if not all, mental health conditions are treatable with medication and counselling but you will only get help if you ask for it – your loved ones aren’t psychic. It is important that you know you are in a safe space to ask for help if you aren’t coping on your own.
- Don’t Give Up What You Love
Just because you are in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you must stop doing all the things you once loved doing. You can do things like travel, travelling is a wonderful experience for anyone. Most places are wheelchair accessible these days and with the correct booking and planning in advance, hotels can arrange for your stay to be as enjoyable as possible. You won’t be able to climb mountains but that doesn’t mean you should stay home. Go out and enjoy life – if you change your outlook you will change your life.