How I Exercise
I’ve talked briefly about how I use a treadmill to keep my legs strong enough to walk, but now I want to talk about how I make sure I get an effect workout when I going to the gym without getting on a treadmill or even out of my chair.
For clarity, the definition of exercise I’m working with here is “elevating my heart rate and keeping it elevated for an extended period of time”. There’s a lot of things I can do that are strenuous but don’t keep my heart rate elevated for very long and, as a wheelchair user, it takes a lot of time and space to get meaningful exercise by just pushing my chair around.
When I first tried to solve this problem, I did some research online for things like “seated cardio” or “wheelchair cardio” and the results either involved a lot of precise and repetitive leg movements or were so mild there was no way they were going to be effective.
In the end, I went with l lifting small amounts of weight as quickly as I can for as long as I am able. Moving the weights up and down or holding the weights and moving my arms like I’m pushing the chair helps me get my heart rate up. The ease of motions means I can do this for a long time without too much strain or injury.