Make gym less daunting

Personal trainer SUNE VAN NIEUWENHUYZEN shares her exercise routine for wheelchair users.

I put this programme together so that wheelchair users can exercise without getting out of their wheelchair. The programme is designed for the Human Sport Equipment and Kinesis machine, which allows wheelchair users (who are not strong enough to transfer themselves) full access to the machine with minimal adjustments.

Resistance bands can be attached to or around a chair or equipment in the gym, if the user is not strong enough to use the lightest weight on the machine. The key is to start with several different exercises of 20 to 30 reps each and gradually increase reps and number of exercises. Workout time can be increased as the person builds endurance.

The programme focuses on upper body strengthening and core stability for beginner paraplegic wheelchair users. Do one to two sets of 15 reps for each exercise while sitting slightly away from chair’s back support to challenge core stability. Warming up joints before exercising is crucial. Wheelchair users can use the ergo-machine (arm-cycling) or do some air boxing.

The warm-up should increase heart rate and warm muscles. Make sure to stretch after exercising.

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