Spinal Cord Injury Community

Staying Fit in a Wheelchair | Ask Aaron

Aaron Baker
Spinal Cord Injury Lifestyle Specialist | Shield HealthCare
09/21/16  2:50 PM PST
Staying fit in a wheelchair Mantenerse en forma en silla de ruedas

In this question, James wants to know about staying fit in a wheelchair and how to do it: 

Hi Aaron,

I have been paralyzed from the waist down since 2013. I was a pretty skinny dude before my accident, but I’ve been steadily gaining weight since then and I’m starting to get self-conscious about it, especially since people already stare at me in my wheelchair. What are some exercises, things I can do to help me lose this extra weight? But without gaining too much muscle in my upper body, because I feel like that will make me self-conscious too?




Hi James! I’m sorry to hear about your accident, but it sounds like you’re motivated to be as strong as possible. Good man!

I also had a lean body before my injury. In my experience, nutrition and physical activity are the most effective ways to manage my weight. I have learned that by eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day (five to seven meals) improved not only weight management, but blood sugar, appetite and my mental mood. If I’m craving sugar, I grab a piece of fruit & pair it with a piece of cheese or peanut/almond butter. Pairing carbs & proteins satisfies my cravings and gives me a boost of energy!

Try this:

  • Apple slices & sharp cheddar cheese
  • Carrot sticks & roasted garlic hummus
  • Celery sticks with almond butter & honey drizzle
  • Frozen grapes (red are my favorite)
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple

Couple your nutrient timing with good ol’ fashioned cardiovascular exercises consistently over time and voila… You have a formula for healthy results. Stay committed and your progress will fuel your confidence.

Thanks for asking!


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