Ask the Doctor

Q. I'm disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Are there any activities I can do to get the benefits of aerobic exercise?

A. Men with a disability are less likely to engage in physical activity than men who are not physically challenged, but they have the same need for exercise. Remember that physical activity doesn't have to be strenuous to achieve health benefits. You can attain significant benefits with moderate, daily activity. First, you should consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Ask him or her if it would be safe for you to spend 30 to 40 minutes each day wheeling yourself in your wheelchair through a shopping mall. Wheelchair basketball is another option that would provide excellent exercise and would vary your routine. You can also lift hand weights and do stretching exercises with your arms to build upper-body strength and flexibility. Check with a local YMCA or community center to see what exercise programs may be available for people who are physically challenged.

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