5 Great Exercises for Seniors in Wheelchairs

Let’s look at 5 great exercises that many people in wheelchairs can do.
5 Great Exercises for Seniors in Wheelchairs

Traditional exercise methods are effective for many seniors, but for individuals who must use a wheelchair, they are often impossible. 

No matter what an older person’s physical capabilities are, exercise in some form is always beneficial as it relates to toning muscles, weight management, preventing injuries, building strength, and improving range of motion. It has also been shown that exercise can be a great help to a senior’s cognitive health as well.

Let’s look at 5 great exercises that many people in wheelchairs can do.

Arm Raises

For most people, being in a wheelchair requires constant use of their arms, so it’s imperative to put special focus on building strength in this area of the body.

How to do it:

  • Tuck arms to the chest while holding a small weight or medicine ball.
  • Extend arms over the head.
  • Bend arms to bring them back to the original position.
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions.


Aeroplane Arms

This exercise is most commonly used as a warm-up, but it’s also very useful for building arm strength and endurance.

How to do it:

  • Sit in wheelchair with posture kept straight.
  • Raise arms straight out to the sides.
  • Start slow circular movements with arms. Begin with small motions and move on to larger circles as strength is built.
  • Aim for a minimum of 20 repetitions, starting clockwise and then switching to counterclockwise.

Side Twists

Side twists are a great exercise for people in wheelchairs because they strengthen the core.

By working on core strength, strain on back muscles can decrease, which helps manage pain.

How to do it:

  • Sit up straight in wheelchair.
  • Twist body to the left and hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Return to original position, then twist to the right side.
  • Complete 12 to 15 repetitions.

Stretch Out

Stretching can improve mobility and flexibility, and helps with the muscle-building process. By stretching, built-up lactic acid in the body is released, which can aid in the prevention of soreness.

How to do it:

  • Raise arms over head as high as possible.
  • Lean torso from left to right and back again.
  • Lift legs up and down as capable.
  • Slowly move neck around in a circular pattern.
  • Complete 5-7 repetitions.

Toe Tapping

Who says that exercise can’t be fun? Toe Tapping is a great way to keep more flexible while singing to recorded music.

How to do it:

  • Sit upright in wheelchair.
  • With feet flat on the ground, move toes up as high as possible and then down again, as you sing along to the music.   
  • This exercise can be done with both feet or one at a time.
  • Repeat the process 10-15 times.


Exercise Guide

Frontier Senior Living is Here to Help

Frontier Senior Living has helped many seniors of various physical capabilities lead active and healthy lives. Whether you are interested in Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care, our compassionate and friendly staff is here to meet your unique needs.

 If you would like more information about our services, we invite you to visit at one of our beautiful communities, take a tour and speak with our caring staff.

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that perfectly fits your needs.

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(857) 349-5044
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