Paraplegia is a condition that is linked to injuries of the spinal cord and causes paralysis of the lower body. Although a person suffering from the condition could have complete or partial mobility of the upper body, the muscles can atrophy and there may be a decline of cardiovascular health due to inactivity. An inactive lifestyle makes a person more prone to coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes. The benefits of doing paraplegic exercises include improvement of mood and strength, wider range of motion and accumulation of muscular mass.
The degree of paralysis varies among individuals but many have difficulty in breathing. Paraplegic exercises for breathing increase the capacity of the lungs and strengthen cardiovascular stamina. It has been recommended by the Spinal Cord Injury Network Information Center of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that breathing exercises for paraplegics should start with a deep breath, holding it for five seconds before exhaling. You should take deep breaths as fast as you can and exhale all the air out of your lungs immediately. The pattern is as follows: inhale deeply, hold, inhale and hold. Repeat once more before exhaling. Finally, take a deep breath and exhale while you are counting out loud.
Doing paraplegic exercises for the upper body such as bicep curls builds the strength of the arm, promotes better weight and reduces muscular weakening or breakdown. Paraplegics can have muscular weakness and it is vital that you start the program slowly, building initial strength through the use of light weights then going into a more intense regimen. Using free weights provide resistance and aid in building stronger muscles. Bicep curls for paraplegics build the strength of the upper and frontal part of your arms. To do the exercise, hang your arms outside the wheelchair with a light weight in both of your hands. Your palms should be turned towards the front. Bend the arms slightly, lifting the weights towards the shoulders. Stop before they touch your body. Go back to the straight arm position and repeat until the desired repetitions are achieved.
Lateral Shrugs and Raises
These paraplegic exercises build the strength of the shoulders and increases their mobility and range of motion. With a light weight held in each hand, position your arms straight by the sides. Bend your arms until the weights are parallel to floor. Go back to starting position and then repeat until the desired number of repetitions is completed.
These are just some of the paraplegic exercises that you can do. There are more exercises that are suited to a particular disability. You can search for them online or ask your physical therapist about them.