Living in a wheelchair or with a disability can make even the simplest daily tasks difficult. However, stretching is an important exercise that can make your everyday activities easier to perform. Here are some of the benefits that come with stretching:
Consistent stretching increases flexibility in your muscles which can make things like bending over to tie your shoe, and lifting objects easier and less tiring.
Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscles therefore improving circulation. Improved circulation can help speed up recovery time from muscle injuries.
Regular stretching prevents muscle groups from tightening up, allowing you to maintain better posture, which can help prevent aches and pains.
Stress relief is another benefit of stretching. It relieves aching, tense muscles and helps you focus on improved breathing.
No matter what your physical condition, stretching can benefit you, but don't forget to consult your doctor or physical therapist to determine what type of exercise you are capable of.
It is best to stretch after your exercise routine or when your muscles are relatively warm. This will help prevent pulling a muscle or causing other damage. Make sure to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and never stretch to the point of pain. If you start to feel pain, release the stretch to the point where there is no pain. It is also important to hold the stretch as still as possible, never bounce the stretch. Remember to always stretch both sides of the body equally and don't forget to take some deep breaths. Next week we will follow-up with a post about some specific stretches that can be done while sitting in your wheelchair.