Healthy Living Tips
Comfortable wheelchairs can make a huge difference in the experience of your day-to-day life—and in the long run, can help with avoiding certain imposing injuries that can make using a wheelchair uncomfortable.
However, a quality wheelchair isn’t the only important key to a healthy lifestyle.
Finding what works for you—whether applicable or within your preference—can be a challenge; however, trial and error with these tips can help you be on your way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Especially as a new wheelchair user, it might take you a while to understand your own body, limitations, and abilities.
These tips can help you still keep a brighter outlook on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle—working with your situation:
1. Get Your Exercise In
There are so many different types of exercise, workouts, and methods to keep you moving that you can incorporate in your daily lives to help you get healthier.
Not only is it beneficial physically, but exercise is also essential for your mental health. From yoga to aerobics to strengthening exercises, there are so many exercises out there to try out and see if they work for you. Exercise will have a positive impact on your cardiovascular system and also strengthen those mental properties that can help combat depression and anxiety.
Stretching is beneficial not only for your joints and muscles but even also for internal organs and more complicated bodily systems. Being in a seated position for long hours—regardless if you are wheelchair dependent full time or not—can be unhealthy and possibly dangerous to your health. Simple stretching exercises can help you relieve the strain and stress on your body.
If you have the means necessary, we would definitely recommend joining a local gym to help you stay on your exercise regimen, meet new people, and work on that “healthier” common goal, together.
2. Watch What You Eat
Although you don’t have to be on a strict diet 24/7, you should definitely pay attention to your nutrition and what you’re putting into your body. In general, taking care of what you eat and implementing the proper nutrition and diet can make a huge difference in your overall health—since it also helps you avoid certain sicknesses, cancers, diabetes, and obesity, among so many other things.
When thinking about nutrition, think more, “diet plan” rather than “strict diet.” There’s also no one-size-fits-all options, either, so talk to your doctor, nutritionist or try out different nutrition plans to see what fits you. Especially since there are so many options—following a diet plan doesn’t necessarily mean you have to omit all foods that are bad for you (it’s all about moderation).
3. Plan for a Good Night’s Sleep
Our habits play a significant role in our health—sleeping habits are among them. Not only should your body be resting, but your mind should, too. Everyone is different in regards to how many hours of sleep they need to be functional and feeling good. Usually, for a grown adult, it’s between 6-8 hours a night. Find that sweet spot number that works well for you and stick with it.
Especially if you are new to using a wheelchair, getting the proper equipment to help you get in and out of bed—or working on that procedure with your caretaker or loved one—is definitely a learning process. Here are a few options that can help you settle into sleep.
4. How to Avoid Pressure Sores
Preventing these sores—which result from maintaining the same position for too long with no pressure relieve or via transfers and “skin shear”—can be a daunting task but is worth it, in the end, to try and avoid them—since they can be pretty debilitating, leaving you bedridden, in pain, and possibly with an infection.
Stay ahead of the development of pressure sores through the use of pillows, cleanliness, and changing of positions (if you can). If you need, you can also seek assistance in moving at least once an hour, shifting your weight to other areas of your body.
You can also try implementing certain strategic buys, like a pressure relieving air cushion for your wheelchair, which can help prevent sores.
5. The Implementation of These Products Can also Help your Posture
Maintaining good posture while in your wheelchair, can help you avoid any other injuries or strains on your body—especially if you are in the chair for long hours. Improper posture can actually lead to ailments like scoliosis, pressure sores (as we previously mentioned), and even the inability or difficulty to breathe.
So, what does “proper” posture look like? Your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders should all be in a straight line while you’re sitting. To help you maintain this proper posture, make sure you’re also doing your stretches, flexibility exercises, and daily strengthening exercises to avoid stiffness and weakness.
6. Work on Your Mental Health
Being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle isn’t just solely focused on the physical aspects. Your mental health is just as—if not more—important than your physical health. These two different aspects are inter-connected, affecting one another, and having an impact on your overall health.
Although exercise is a component you can implement that has a direct impact on your mental health, the way you feel mentally can be improved upon through various methods—from counseling to medications to integrating within a community (Reeve Connect is a great resource).
Wheelchair users may be more at risk of developing depression or entering in a depressive state of mind because of their lack of independence or inability to do things that they want to—or perhaps have done before. Taking action and control over your mental health is an important tip to take on to live a healthy lifestyle.
7. Maintain Proper Hygiene
Regardless of what you may be feeling—whether you’ve had an inactive day or if you perhaps didn’t get “dirty”—you should try and get a shower in or clean every day. Taking care of proper hygiene and ticking off that basic requirement is important to your well being and health.
A good rule of thumb is to get up on a schedule and get ready every morning as if your going to go out, even if you are not. Then, you feel better and will be prepared for spontaneous outings!
8. Increase Your Fluids Intake
Especially if you are exercising on a regular basis, maintaining proper hydration is a simple and easy way to improve your lifestyle.
Even if you cannot engage in regular exercises, your fluid intake is meaningful and impactful on your brain function and overall health.
Such a simple switch—from juices and soda pops to water—can help you lose weight and profit from all the various health benefits that water instills—like healthy skin and a healthy bodily system.
Implementing enough water into your diet is also essential if you are feeling ill and need a boost in your immune system The Sitting Chef, Anne Marie de Postma, recommends:
“Drink at least 2,5 liter of water every day, ESPECIALLY when you sit for more than 3 hours a day or when you’re wheelchair bound. It prevents blood clots, stroke, kidney problems, bloating, prevents or relieves constipation and headache and is the best medicine for a glowing skin! Spice up your water with a few slices of cucumber, some mint leaves, lemon and lavender like I did or choose other fruit and/or fresh herbs”
9. Live a Fulfilling Lifestyle
Although some tasks are much more complicated than others, your mental health is actually quite dependent on your overall lifestyle. Doing your best in implementing various other aspects of a fulfilling lifestyle—like learning a new language, traveling, dating, having a circle of friends, etc.—can help you improve your social lifestyle and improve the positivity in your life.
Things like traveling and learning a new language can help open your mind, keep it engaged, and help you meet others. Although traveling can be a bit difficult or require planning ahead of time for accessible arrangements, it is not impossible, and if you do not have the time or inclination, you can choose a pre-planned wheelchair accessible tour like PUSHLiving Ireland Tour, or others offered on the Travel Deals.
We hope that this article has helped make you aware of a few simple, achievable tips and tasks to better your lifestyle and head to healthier, day-to-day #PUSHLiving!
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