7 Wheelchair Workouts for Children

7 Wonderful Wheelchair Workouts

Being active is great for our health and wellbeing. It maintains cardiovascular health (preventing conditions like stroke and heart disease), boosts mental health and self-esteem, and assists our bodies in managing blood sugar and insulin levels, which can help with weight control. 

Exercise also has developmental benefits for children and young people. As well as supporting physical development (strength, stability, mobility), movement can boost cognitive skills like planning, problem solving and bilateral integration – using the two sides of the body and brain together. 

Exercise for children who are wheelchair users is especially important as they move less day to day than their peers. No matter what fitness level or physical abilities our child has, moving a little bit more than normal will help them get fitter and stronger. Any movement counts!

Because it’s not always possible to get out, exercising at home can be a nice option for our children. The Internet is a great place to start – there are lots of freely available exercise videos online, some of which are specifically aimed at children with additional needs. We share some of our favourites below. 

  • Improves strength which leads to better gross motor skills and more independent living

  • Improves sleep which is very often a problem with those with physical difficulties

  • Reduces constipation – as the body moves the muscles in the stomach contracts and helps move stomach contents to help with painful trapped wind and constipation

  • Protects joints by increasing muscle strength which takes pressure off joints.

  • The pull of muscles and weight bearing both increase bone density – reducing the risk of fractures

  • Exercise can help to maintain or increase muscle length through active stretch – keeping ranges of motion in the joints and enabling better gross motor skills and thus improved function and independence.

  • Exercise can reduce fatigue and improve exercise tolerance, so improving function and independence in every day tasks.

7 seated workouts or series

  • This video has been made for those with spinal injuries but would work well for those who have physical disabilities with some arm involvement or difficulties. There are some lovely exercises at the end with weights – use socks, bottles, herb bottles or anything you’ve got lying around the house instead!

  • This is a great video for young people in wheelchairs or with some standing ability.

  • Exercises are aerobic so good for your fitness and good for keeping mobile in your chair.

  • These are lovely wheelchair exercises created by Parasport for stretching the arms and some leg exercises. This also has some options for people who can stand – or you can mix and match if you tire easily.

Parasport home workout: aerobics

  • This second video from Parasport is for an aerobics workout.  This also has some options for people who can stand – or you can mix and match if you tire easily.


  • This first video shows neck, arm and shoulder positions and stretches – going through all the movements with clear instructions. 

  • This second video concentrates more on the spine but also involves some arm movements at the same time. 

  • This is a series of high intensity, cardio workouts to do in a wheelchair or in a sitting position. 

  • They are probably best for those of you with moderate to high function in your arms and body. There is some leg work but you can keep going with your arms if you are unable to follow the leg exercises. The exercises are fast paced but you can follow at your own speed and join in with the bits you are able to do. 

  • If you don’t have a stretchy band, use a tin/ bottle/ piece of fruit etc to add some weight to the movement. As you get used to the exercises, you can try to stretch further in each movement or increase your speed or weight to progress.  

Thank you for visiting Gympanzees’ website. All information provided by Gympanzees is of general nature and for educational / entertainment purposes. It is up to you as the parent or family member to judge what is appropriate and safe for your child. No information provided by Gympanzees should replace any professional information and advice that you have been given and speak to your therapist or doctor if you are unsure of anything. Should you use any of the information provided by Gympanzees, you do so at your own risk and hold Gympanzees harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

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