In the previous post (Wheelchair Stretching – Part A) we discussed the many benefits of stretching and how important it is for wheelchair users to stretch. Here is a list of stretches that can be done in a wheelchair.
Neck Tilt- Sitting straight up in your chair; tilt your head to one side. Bring your ear as close to your shoulder as possible without straining. Repeat four times on each side.
Double Chin- Looking straight ahead, slowly draw your chin downwards and back into your neck, hold for at least five seconds.
Neck Rotation- Gently turn your head to the left, looking over your left shoulder. Stop when a stretch is felt in the right side of your neck. Don’t forget to stretch both sides of the neck.
Prayer Stretch- Press your hands together in praying position. Slowly raise your elbows so your arms are parallel to the ground, keeping your hands flat against each other.
Wrist Circles- Holding your arms straight out in front of you; make slow circles with your wrists keeping your hands in closed fists. Circle in both directions.
Shoulder Fan- Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the sides. Interlock your fingers. Pull your shoulder blades together while pushing your chest out.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch- Bring one arm across the front of the body. Grasp your elbow with the opposite hand. Gently pull your arm across your body without twisting your torso. Repeat on both sides.
Shrugs- Shrug your shoulders, then relax them. Roll your shoulders forward and backward. Gently shake out your shoulders.
Tricep Extension Stretch- Hold one arm behind your head so your elbow points toward the ceiling. With your other hand, slowly pull your elbow backwards and towards your head until you feel a stretch in your forearms. Don’t forget to perform this stretch on both sides.
T Stretch- Sit up straight in your chair and lift your arms straight out to your sides, forming a “t shape” with the upper half of your body. Turn your palms so your thumbs are pointed down and slowly push back until you feel a slight stretch.
Lowered Prayer Stretch- While holding the prayer stretch (above), keep your palms together and slowly lower your hands until your feel a stretch in your forearms.
Lower Back Stretch- Lean forward in your chair and grasp your hands behind your thighs. Slowly pull the leg up to your chest, repeat with the other leg.
Back/Side Stretch- Sitting straight up in your chair, extend your arms up. Stretch your arms as high as you can, then bend slightly to one side, and then the other side, keeping your arms extended up.
Sitting Calf Stretch- Extend one leg straight out in front of you. Flex your toes towards you and hold. Then point your toes away from you and hold. Repeat this stretch a few times on each side. To stretch your ankle from this position, roll your ankle in one direction by drawing a small circle with your toes, then change direction.