Exercise Equipment for the Handicapped & Disabled

A wheelchair doesn't mean no exercise.
i John Rowley/Photodisc/Getty Images

Exercising with a handicap or disability is likely more difficult for you, but skipping it altogether will probably make you feel worse. Whether you have physical limitations or not, regular workouts help prevent many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. It also aids in weight control by burning calories and boosting lean muscle mass. Finding the right equipment makes exercise fun and beneficial.

Types of Equipment

    Many gyms comply with regulations that make them accessible to women with handicaps or disabilities. If you can find one, you'll have many pieces of equipment on hand, including free weights, rowing machines and weight machines. If you prefer to exercise at home, a set of dumbbells and resistance bands are easy to use and allow you to create a routine that fits with your abilities. Some weight machines, disability pedalers and bikes and wheelchair training equipment are available and make some types of exercise easier to do. Mix and match equipment for a well-rounded workout.


    Staying active in a modified way is important for many aspects of your health. It is vital for keeping your heart, bones and muscles healthy. Regular exercise also burns calories, helping you keep your weight at a healthy number. This is especially important if you are in a wheelchair because it helps prevent you from piling on the pounds because of a lack of mobility. Exercise is also good for keeping your muscles from atrophying. Staying fit and healthy also improves your self-esteem and mental well-being.


    As with any type of exercise, workouts with a a handicap or disability require proper safety to keep you from getting hurt. If you are new to exercise, a trainer or physical therapist can help you learn which exercises and equipment are appropriate for your limitations and can also teach you the right technique. Follow the instructions for the piece of equipment you've chosen to give you a good workout and prevent the possibility that you'll hurt yourself. It is important to stretch your muscles before exercise and avoid pushing your body too hard. This helps you get the most out of your routine while reducing the risk of injury.


    In general, women need about 150 minutes of cardio exercise and a couple of strength training sessions each week. Despite any physical limitations you might have, this guideline is beneficial for preventing health problems. The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability suggests doing a five-minute warm-up before and a five-minute cool-down after your workout. Aim to exercise for 10 to 30 minutes at a time, using a variety of machines to keep your muscles and endurance challenged.

the nest