Exercise may seem like a daunting task when you are living with limited mobility. The truth is, though, there are many exercises you can perform while using a wheelchair! Exercise can strengthen your muscles, increase energy, and reduce stress - and these are just a few of the many benefits of exercise. Consider these exercises to stay active while using your wheelchair.

Upper Body Exercises


  • Rounded Back: Interlace fingers and slowly press palms forward. Allow chin to drop towards your chest and allow back to round. Hold for a few seconds. Release arms upwards as you allow your head to rise to a normal position.
  • Air Punches: Curl your fingers into a fist. Punch an imaginary punching bag in the air.
  • Wrist, Arm, and Shoulder Circles: Extend your fingers and rotate your wrists in a circle; after 5-10 rotations, switch directions. Extend your arms to the side so they are parallel to the floor and rotate in small circles; after 5-10 rotations, switch directions. Roll your shoulders in small circles; after 5-10 rolls, switch directions.


Lower Body Exercises

  • Leg lifts: Extend one leg forward so it is parallel to the floor; repeat 5 times with each leg.
  • Air Running: Lift both feet slightly off the ground and alternate lifting thighs off the chair, creating a “running” motion. For strength training, lift slowly and hold; for cardio, lift rapidly as if running.
  • Ankle circles: Rotate ankles in small circles; after 5-10 rotations, switch directions.

Choosing Exercises to Help You Thrive

These are just a few of the many exercises you can do from a wheelchair. It is important that you choose the exercises that are right for you because these are the exercises that will help you thrive! Here are a few tips as you begin to develop your exercise routine:


  • Consult your doctor or physical therapist for advice on choosing the right exercises.
  • If you feel pain while exercising, stop.
  • Consistency is more important than intensity. Find a routine that works for you and stick to it, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day.
  • Remember to be patient with yourself! Exercising is not easy, but it’s worth it. Stay positive and reward yourself for your hard work!

More Resources for Exercise

Did you enjoy these exercises? Check out HelpGuide’s “How to Exercise if You Have Limited Mobility” for even more tips, exercises, and resources.

These products from Medical Supply Depot will help you stay safe and healthy during your exercise routine:


Not sure if you have the right wheelchair for your needs? Consider these tips for choosing a manual or powered wheelchair, then head over to Medical Supply Depot’s wheelchair listings to browse for great options.

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