Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle can sometimes be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially tough for those who have a disability or mobility issues.
There are so many benefits, both physical and mental, that can be gained from maintaining an active lifestyle if you are confined to a wheelchair, or if you have specific mobility restrictions.
Why you should work at being active
Not only will becoming more active help to improve your body’s overall physical health, but it is proven to go a long way to bettering your mental wellbeing, too. By regularly exercising, your body releases endorphins which energise you, relieve stress and help boost your self-esteem – all of which add you your all-round happiness.
Manoeuvring or pushing yourself in a wheelchair can put particular pressure on certain muscles in the upper body, making muscle strains or other upper-body injuries more likely. With regular muscle-strengthening exercises, you can manage your wheelchair in daily life better, be more confident in your abilities outside your home and avoid a range of potentially ongoing ailments that often affect wheelchair users.
Which activity is right for you?
The kind of activities that might best suit you are likely to depend upon your level of physical ability and the types of activity that actually appeal to you. Your aim might be to improve certain aspects of physical function to help with daily life. Maybe you are seeking to improve your overall fitness, or your social life by involving yourself in a group sport.
Whatever your level of physical ability and confidence, there are activities that you can undertake to improve your fitness – and these don’t necessarily have to sport related.
It’s important to understand that physical activity doesn’t have to mean undertaking a strenuous or competitive sport, but could even be something simple.
We know that going out and joining a social group, sports activity or taking up a hobby can sometimes be an intimidating thought, but there are so many options out there for you to be involved with that you can pick the right one for you – and you could make some new-found friends along the way!
Wheelchair sports have become so accessible and available. It’s a great way to kick-start your active lifestyle if you’re in a wheelchair or have mobility issues.
Below are just a few of our best suggestions for you:
- Adapted Sports
There are many clubs and organisations that are developing adapted sports programmes across Melbourne, and as more are receiving funding, more places are available and the quality of these programs is improving across the board. Check out Disability Sports Australia for more information!
- Music-related Activities
Listening to music is therapeutic, and can lead to improved happiness levels, sometimes meaning big changes in your mental health.
Studies have shown that listening to regular tunes can increase focus, improve self-esteem and boost your overall happiness.
There are lots of music venues in Victoria and beyond that are adapted for wheelchair access. In addition to this, why not consider taking up a new musical instrument. It can be a great hobby, and you can meet a lot of other like-minded music lovers.
Being in a wheelchair shouldn’t stop you being active. Music is a great way to make friends and have a fun hobby.
Both therapeutic and fun, gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors without the strenuous physical exertion that may come with some sports. Consider planting some flowers or a small herb or veggie garden.
Certain plants can attract butterflies, and new seedlings are exciting to watch as they grow and change each day, helping you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. You won’t have to go far to get in touch with nature and admire the blooms. This renewed interest can segue into a trip to the local nursery for new plants or an outing to a nearby botanical garden for inspiration.
- Regular Trips
Something as simple as a trip to the beach can help you become more confident at getting outdoors more often, and reducing anxiety. If this sounds appealing to you, take a look at some of the different chair-friendly activities you can do and trips you can take.
Products to make getting active much easier
We have a wide range of products available that can make getting outdoors so much easier for you. Our mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs make getting from A to B so much more simple.
Or regain your independence with a walking aid, as these can help improve your stability and balance when out and about. If you’re a regular vehicle user, you can make getting out and about in your car easier with our transfer aids.
Beginning a new activity can be intimidating at first, and taking the time to research and decide on the right activity for you can make the process a lot smoother and easier.
If you have questions about specific activities or you can’t decide what’s right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Life Mobility, or even use local support networks and government bodies. These could be sporting associations, health centres or a national disability assistance foundation. There are so many activities to choose from; we encourage you to find one that you really want to do, and get out there and give it a go. You will feel much better for it!
At Life Mobility, we exist to make sure that people living with a disability are able to lead an independent lifestyle. We understand that each person’s needs are unique and therefore require a unique solution. You can view our range of mobility products, or contact us for more assistance.