Being confined to a wheelchair can bring its set of health complications. Many wheelchair users get diagnosed with non-communicable diseases and mental health issues. Luckily, most of the common issues can be avoided! Yes, you can still maintain a healthy lifestyle as a wheelchair user. In this article, we share some of the top health tips to improve your overall health & wellness.

Maintain a good posture

Did you know that you can develop pressure sores and breathing problems with a persistent bad posture on the wheelchair? Given that you are seated most part of the day, try to maintain a good posture at all times. Keep in mind that pressure sores, for instance, in stage one can occur if you stay in the same position for as little as two hours. So, ensure you keep the feet, knees, hips, and shoulders in a straight line when seated. 

Quick tips on preventing pressure sores

  • Avoid spending long hours on the wheelchair, especially if you can move around. 
  • Look out for spots, color changes, and other signs of sores and treat it immediately. 
  • Keep your skin healthy. Always ensure it is clean and dry

Get a good wheelchair

Part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a wheelchair user is getting the right wheelchair. There are many things that you should consider before making a purchase. If your current one doesn’t meet the criteria, it is better to consider a second purchase. Now, staying comfortable while in a wheelchair should be your biggest priority to avoid issues like pressure sores. Remember, you spend most of your time on it. As a rule of thumb, pick a good one with a thick seat cushion, swivel armrests, headrest, and footrest. Other features to consider look out for include its indoor and outdoor maneuverability. Also, check out if it is electric or manual, active or passive, etc. Pick the one that will give you comfort as you sit and move.

Exercise

Again, being confined in a wheelchair makes you susceptible to a myriad of diseases. But you can still work out to stay fit and healthy! You can begin with cardiovascular exercises to maintain the health of your heart, lungs, and overall health. 

Tip: Talk to your doctor on the type of exercises that fit your current situation.

Get enough sleep

Did you know sleep deprivation is linked to obesity and poor brain function? Well, if you have been cutting down on sleep, you might want to reconsider that. Experts found out that people who do an average of three hours of sleep have their hearts to worry about. Other studies have linked inadequate sleep to overweight and obesity and in worst cases death. In other words, try to get enough sleep. Perhaps you can invest in comfortable pillows and cushions to help you sleep better. Enough sleep lowers your chances for heart disease and stroke. It also reduces stress, and improves your immune function

Watch Your Diet

The foods we take have a general impact on our health; in essence, we are what we eat. For instance, processed foods, unhealthy fats, and refined sugars, does more harm than good to your body. You are better off going for more fruits and vegetables. Indulge more in cereals, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Make sure to keep your salt intake to a minimum to help keep your pressure down.

Tip: Increase your fluid intake especially water and healthy smoothies. They will help with weight loss, brain function, and overall health.

Final thoughts

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while in a wheelchair is not such a hard nut to crack. It’s all about understanding your own body and discovering what works best in your situation. Make sure you have a comfortable wheelchair, try exercising and watch what you eat. Generally speaking, work to improve your health & wellness.