This article provides helpers with basic information about exercise.
It is challenging to inspire anyone to start and keep exercising. Consider this advice as you encourage the people you support to exercise:
Make sure that the individual you support talks with their doctor before starting new exercises. The doctor can suggest good exercises for the individual. The doctor can also make sure the individual's health status and medications don't cause problems with exercise.
Remind the individual you support to take frequent rest breaks, especially if they feel dizzy or sick, or if they feel pain. Remind them to drink water or other liquids before they exercise.
Use the Exercise Safety Checklist tool included with these documents for tips on feeling and being safe.
If you are working with someone who has seizures, here are 9 important safety tips to remember when supporting exercise:
It is also important to know that exercise could cause a seizure if the individual you support has certain conditions. For example:
You can ask the individual’s doctor about these conditions.
Individuals who use wheelchairs can also exercise and stay active. Exercises You Can Do in Your Wheelchair focuses on three main types of exercise for people who use wheelchairs: (1) range of motion and upper body exercises, (2) resistance training; and (3) weight training. These types of exercise will help build upper body strength. Again, make sure the person you support checks with a doctor before starting an exercise plan.
For resistance training, individuals use something calledresistance bands. These are large, stretchable bands that are available in most sporting goods stores. They can be attached to a door handle, pole, or a wheelchair. The training involves pulling the bands towards and away from the body. These movements help to strengthen upper body muscles.
Weight or strength traininguses weights or dumb bells or even cans of food. There are a number of different exercises that can strengthen upper body strength. It’s best to find out how to use these two different types of exercise from someone who has experience. This could be a physical therapist, health club staff, or another individual who uses a wheelchair.
It may be helpful for the individuals you support to plan and track the exercises. You can help the individuals do this by talking about exercise and writing down their exercise activities. This exercise log can be a helpful starting point:
You can also support individuals to learn more about healthy lifestyle choices. They can learn more by talking with health care professionals or by checking out these resources on the internet:
This site includes: an overview of epilepsy; some precautions to take while exercising; physical activities to avoid; and things to remember before, during and after exercising.
This site reviews the importance of exercise and upper body strength. It shows how to develop an exercise plan, and focuses on resistance and weight training.
This site lists the major wheelchair sports organizations and the positive physical and mental effects of staying in shape.
It’s important to know how to keep yourself safe, and avoid potential problems before they happen.
Last updated on March 26th, 2010