How Anyone With Limited Mobility Can Maintain a Healthy Weight
How to maintain a healthy weight when you have limited options for exercise
Physical activity is important to the human body, especially when you're trying to lose some extra weight. I asked three physically challenged individuals how they do it and here is what they had to say.
(Names have been changed to protect their identity).
I’ve always had problems with my weight. I’ve never been able to maintain a healthy weight. And since going into a wheelchair, I’ve not been able to maintain a healthy weight due to doing less exercise.
You see, I am in a wheelchair because my right leg is completely numb and it’s very hard to make your knee lock when you can’t feel it. I can use my legs. I can balance on my left leg. I can stand using only my left leg. I just can’t walk without major assistance because I can’t rely on my right leg.
Therefore, I can probably do more exercise than the average wheelchair-bound person.
I go to the gym once a week as part of my physio, in which I cycle on an upright exercise bike for 10 minutes. I use an upper-body ergometer for 10 minutes. I do my normal daily physio, and then I do whatever rehab my physiotherapist wants me to do, usually something in the lines of mini-squats or some sort of work with steps.
With great difficulty. I have gained 40 pounds since I can no longer run.
The only thing one can do is cut back on calorie intake, and use a treadmill to walk, holding on to the treadmill handles to maintain balance.
Unfortunately, I like to eat and my wife is an excellent cook. I am trying now to cut back severely on food intake and increase treadmill time. But the pain in my hips and knees make walking even on a treadmill very uncomfortable. I may have to get a stationary cycle instead of the treadmill.
In May, I spent a month in a small town in northern China. There was no gym there. I couldn’t exercise but I lost weight. I ate two meals a day, not three. No supper. I didn’t eat anything made from flour, rice or bread. No carbs, in other words.
Narrow down your eating window to activate Ketosis, and avoid carbs.
Here’s what you can take away from these interviews:
- Exercise goes hand in hand with proper nutrition.
- People with limited mobility can perform exercises too. Of course, there are some difficulties but they can be overcome.
Now, the breakdown.
First, have a good diet routine. There are several to pick from. We have approaches such as calorie counting, ketogenic diets, and intermittent fasting. You may consult with a nutritionist or fitness coach to help you design one that fits your needs.
Second, be encouraged to exercise as frequently as you can. For people with limb loss, practice strength exercises for the upper body such as bicep curls and standing bent over shoulder fly. If you have lower limb loss or low functioning, you can perform standing exercises while sitting. For lower body workouts, weighted cuffs can be used with seated leg extensions and lying abdominal crunches. For people with spinal cord injuries, practise seated elastic resistance exercises such as chest press, biceps curls, and triceps flexion. For lower thoracic into lumbar spinal area injuries, seated and lying abdominal crunch, leg lifts, curls, and thigh adduction/abduction exercises can be performed. Test these out to see which ones work for you and stick to them.
Happy exercising 🙂