Unfortunately, being in a wheelchair for an extensive period of time can cause its fair share of problems. One that has a huge impact on your body as time progresses is posture issues. Now, even though I used to frequently do ballet dancing and modelling before my accident, both of which require an almost perfect posture; I still need to remain vigilante on any unnatural curves in my spine.
Throughout my 25 years being in a wheelchair, I’ve picked up some excellent tips on how to maintain a healthy posture. Some of them are quite simple, and others require you to increase your heart rate a little. So, here they are…
Use an exercise ball
This is one that I’ve used for a very long time, and I’d like to say it’s helped an awful lot. It isn’t too demanding on your body, and it takes just 5 or 10 minutes a day. Simply get an exercise ball, place it on the floor and lie down on it, with the ball positioned in the middle of your back. As you’re on the ball, you can roll up and down it to hit different parts of your back, and this should help iron out any imbalances.
Get your wheelchair fitted correctly
It sounds obvious, but this one is very important. Considering you’re going to be in your wheelchair 99% of the time, it needs to be comfortable. The back support needs to match the curvature of your spine so you’re in a natural position and you need to have enough leg support. Without these, you’ll be at risk of getting posture issues because you’ll be too far back, too far forward, or too cramped up.
Do some yoga
Yoga is a brilliant way for everyone to keep their muscles, joints and spine healthy. But, the reason why I love it so much is because you can literally do it anywhere and still receive the benefits. Most of the time, I either do yoga with a theraband at home or at the local park.
Go to the gym
I strongly advise going to the gym. Not only will it keep you fit and healthy, but you’ll also be able to complete exercises that are beneficial to your core. After all, a robust core is essential to maintaining a great posture. So, exercises that you should utilize if you are aiming to improve your posture would be, weighted back exercises, ab exercises and various stretches. You don’t need to go every day, but try to make it a regular occurrence.
Choose a better sleeping position
It may sound strange, but I actually choose a sleeping position that isn’t as comfortable as others but allows me to fully stretch out. This position is sleeping on your stomach. It enables your spine to be fully elongated, and therefore keep your posture intact.
Extra tip: Stay in tune with your body, and notice when it isn’t feeling right or your posture isn’t straight. Then, make sure you keep correcting it to prevent any long-term damage.
Here is the Video where I explain everything: