Paraplegic patients are people who have lost the use of two of their limbs, usually the legs, as a result of a spinal cord injury. Paraplegic patients need to maintain regular physical activity to ensure the health of their bodies, just like able-bodied people do. Though exercise can be difficult for someone confined to a wheelchair, it is not an impossibility.
Paraplegics can participate in wheelchair sporting events in order to get exercise and also social activity. Wheelchair tennis, basketball, and even racing are all popular options. These sports are similar to their traditional counterparts, except that they have slightly different rules and regulations than the sporting options for able-bodied athletes. For example, in wheelchair tennis rules, the ball can bounce twice before being returned, as opposed to only bouncing once in traditional rules. Paraplegics can participate in these sports individually or as part of a league or association, and even compete on a national level if they train hard and perform well.
Yoga can provide many health benefits to paraplegic patients, including increased flexibility and circulation in the muscles. Breathing and meditation exercises are designed to be practiced while seating, which is ideal for paraplegic yogis. Paraplegics can also participate in "chair yoga," which is a form of yoga gaining popularity with senior citizens and people confined to wheelchairs. In chair yoga, the moves and poses are designed for people who are seated, and therefore can be done from a wheelchair.
Paraplegic patients can perform weightlifting routines that work out the upper body. Lifting hand weights can easily be managed from a wheelchair, so paraplegic patients can perform such exercises as bicep curls, butterfly presses and arm raises. Begin with light weights, and work your way up as the workout gets easier. As with any exercise program, you should consult a physician before beginning a weightlifting routine to make sure that you are healthy enough for physical activity.
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