Benefits of Wheelchair Yoga for People with Limited Mobility

Benefits of Wheelchair Yoga for People with Limited Mobility

About 300 million people across the globe do yoga. The practice has been around for thousands of years, but it only became popular in Western countries during the last 50 years or so.

Yoga offers considerable physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Many people–including those with mobility disabilities or other limitations–have discovered these advantages.

You might assume that the physical demands of yoga make it impossible for these individuals. That is not the case. In fact, wheelchair yoga has exploded in popularity because of its accessibility, as well as its significant health and rehabilitation benefits.

What Is Wheelchair Yoga?

Wheelchair yoga is a specific version of “chair yoga,” and chair yoga is a popular alternative to traditional yoga. Chair yoga lets people with disabilities, weight challenges, or significant inflexibility, practice yoga. It has become a popular option for rehabilitation.

Chair yoga is good for anyone who has difficulty standing, getting on the ground, or transitioning between these two positions. Chair yoga can replicate almost all traditional yoga poses and stretches.

Also, for these same reasons, chair yoga is a good option for someone who does not have access to adequate floor space. This includes many people in offices or who travel a great deal.

In general, the chair replaces the yoga mat, becoming an extension of your body. This means slightly altered techniques to accommodate the lack of floor space. It also makes use of the chair’s physical features and components to perform seated yoga poses.

Benefits of Wheelchair Yoga

There are many benefits of wheelchair yoga. Here are a few to consider.

Exercise and Improved General Health

Wheelchair yoga is good for cardiovascular health. Movement in general is helpful in this regard. By definition, most people with limited mobility issues experience challenges finding suitable exercise options.

Lack of mobility can lead to cardiovascular disease. It also can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other health issues.

Wheelchair yoga can be a viable exercise option for people who otherwise have no other opportunities. It allows them to combat the threat of these diseases.

Yoga in general helps build new neural pathways and protest against neurodegenerative decline resulting from age. This means it changes the structure of the brain to improve learning, memory, and attention. Wheelchair yoga can go a long way to improving respiratory health as well.

Decreased Stress and Improved Mental Health

Wheelchair yoga helps you focus on breathing and movement. This translates to increased mindfulness and a sense of relaxation. This can help improve mental clarity and reduce stress.

Wheelchair yoga can elevate levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid in the body. This chemical can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety. It can alleviate some symptoms and causes of depression.

Wheelchair yoga also can help people have a more measured outlook and state of mind. This can help them better deal with stressful situations.

Alleviating Chronic Pain

Wheelchair yoga can help a great deal with alleviating chronic pain. This includes back pain, migraines, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia, among other conditions.

Working out in general can reduce different types of pain. That is because, when exercising, your body releases endorphins, which act as natural painkillers.

For some individuals, pain might prohibit exercise, including practicing yoga. The presence of the chair can make certain exercises possible with wheelchair yoga that otherwise would not be.

Also, unique movements and exercises with the chair allow you to target certain areas where pain exists. This too might otherwise be unachievable with standard yoga.

Improved Muscle Stiffness and Mobility

Wheelchair yoga also can address muscle stiffness. This becomes prevalent as we age and can be more pronounced in people who have limited mobility.

Wheelchair yoga can increase flexibility in general. This can be helpful for anyone, but especially for people with mobility challenges.

Better flexibility can help improve range of motion and allow people to better twist, bend, stretch, and move around more freely. This can improve your general quality of life and make it easier or possible to engage in other activities that you enjoy.

Better Balance

Moving from one position to another improves proprioception. This is your nervous system’s ability to sense location and movement through receptors in almost every joint, muscle, and tendon in your body. It is what allows you to take every step without thinking about it.

It is easy to see how wheelchair yoga can improve these processes. This can help with mobility as well as balance and decrease the likelihood of falls or other accidents.

Improved Strength

Wheelchair yoga also can help improve muscle and bone strength. Just as certain yoga exercises are geared toward flexibility, others focus on building muscle. Increased muscle mass means elevated calorie-burning capacity and improved control and balance.

Wheelchair yoga also can improve bone strength. It exposes bones to increased levels of force, which can improve mineral density.

Bone health is important as we age. Also, people with mobility challenges may be more susceptible to osteoporosis or other types of bone degeneration. This makes wheelchair yoga geared towards bone health all the more vital.

Better Sleep

Everyone knows that routine exercise, including yoga, can improve sleep. This, coupled with improved mindfulness and stress reduction, can make wheelchair yoga a great option for combatting insomnia or other sleep disorders.

Community and Sense of Belonging

People with mobility issues are often excluded from many recreational activities. This goes for everything from sports teams to exercise classes.

Wheelchair yoga is a way to find a safe, supportive community where you can improve your health. It can allow you to make connections with others who have similar physical challenges but who also do not want to be limited by them.

Find Mobility Solutions Near You

Now that you understand the benefits of wheelchair yoga for people with limited mobility, you can determine if it is the right option for you or your loved one. It is a great sport for anyone, but especially those who experience some of the challenges described above.

Freedom Mobility Center specializes in helping patients find the right chairs for their unique mobility and rehabilitation needs. Reach out to us today to learn more about our products and services.