Rehab Bikes for Wheelchair Users

About 2.7 million people in the US use wheelchairs. Confinement to a wheelchair does not only physically constrain the person, but also creates a huge mental barrier. People with disability, old age, obesity, respiratory conditions, diabetes, arthritis and/or other illnesses who are confined to a wheelchair often feel that it is impossible for them to exercise. However, this is far from true.

In this article, we profile the best rehab bikes for wheelchair users. If you are in a hurry, have a look at the snapshot below. Or scroll down for greater details.

Sunny Health & Fitness...
MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise...
Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser...
Hausse Folding Exercise...
Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot...
Product
Sunny Health & Fitness...
MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise...
Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser...
Hausse Folding Exercise...
Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot...
Prime
-
Price
$109.07
$179.00
Price not available
$35.99
$49.99
Sunny Health & Fitness...
Product
Sunny Health & Fitness...
Prime
Price
$109.07
MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise...
Product
MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise...
Prime
Price
$179.00
Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser...
Product
Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser...
Prime
-
Price
Price not available
Hausse Folding Exercise...
Product
Hausse Folding Exercise...
Prime
Price
$35.99
Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot...
Product
Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot...
Prime
Price
$49.99

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Exercise is a very beneficial activity for any person. Not only does exercise reduce the risk of long term diseases, but it also helps in improving one’s mood and state of happiness. 

When we exercise, our body releases endorphins that trigger the opioid receptors in the brain. These help to reduce pain, relieve stress and increase happiness. This is why it is important for people who are wheelchair-bound to have and practice a good exercise regimen.

Regardless of your age and how physically active you are, there are always means to overcome mobility issues and reap the benefits of exercise.

Below are some benefits of exercise that are very important for wheelchair-bound people:

  1. Increasing endurance
  2. Reducing pain in muscles and joints
  3. Improving balance
  4. Building muscles and bone mass
  5. Increasing range of motion

WHO recommends that all adults aged 19 to 64, including wheelchair users, should do:

  1. 150 minutes of physical activity 
  2. Aerobic activity in bouts of >10 minutes and
  3. Muscle-strengthening activities on >2 days a week.

What type of exercises are available for people with Limited Mobility?

Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility exercises, or stretches as they are more commonly known, are the first kind of exercise that needs to be done before proceeding with any other exercise.

Stretching exercises prepare your muscles for upcoming stress due to cardiovascular or strength exercises and reduce your chances of injuring yourself by preparing your muscles. 

They also enhance your range of movement, reduce pain and are beneficial to keep your muscles toned up. If, for example, you have limited mobility in your feet, stretching exercises can help in preventing or delaying further muscle atrophy  

In practice, stretching is similar to light cardio movements but it is less strenuous and slower to do. Even a simple motion of taking your hand from one end to the other sideways and back and forth can act as a stretching exercise that can be done before starting more strenuous exercises. If you can move your legs, then straightening them and touching your toes by your hands is also a form of flexibility exercise. 

Another simple method is to hold a PVC pipe or stick with your hands in a wide grip and lift it above your head, keep it there for a few seconds, and then bring it down slowly. Repeat this exercise several times, and you will feel your shoulders and upper body more flexible and ready to move.

Cardiovascular exercises

The aim of cardiovascular exercises is to burn calories through rapid heart movement. Therefore, any activity which increases heartbeat can be counted as a cardio exercise.

For example, simply moving your arms up and down rapidly and repetitively whilst sitting on your wheelchair is also a form of cardiovascular exercise!

Some typical forms of cardio exercise are walking and running, swimming, tennis, squash and “Aquajogging”. Aqua jogging is particularly recommended for people with mobility issues since exercising in the water reduces the weight on the legs and supports the body. 

Another great cardio exercise is hand-cycling. You need a rehab-bike for this exercise. Put pressure on the cycle and gradually increase it, moving the pedals with your hands. This exercise is also useful in strengthening the muscles required to pull the wheelchair, namely your shoulder and arms.

There are also gyms that have exercise facilities for wheelchair-bound people. They support such exercises as hand rowing and bicycling. 

Strength Training

Strength training involves building muscles and bone mass using weights. Strength training improves balance, helps prevent falls and increases upper body strength which is used in pulling most manual wheelchairs. The shoulders, triceps and chest are the muscles involved in pulling a wheelchair.

Chest pressing (like bench presses) can also be done by first making sure that the wheelchair is not movable. The other way can be by lying on the bed and placing the equipment overhead while ensuring that there is no discomfort to the body.

Another great exercise is the lateral pulldown which involves installing a bar higher than your wheelchair and a resistance band with handles. Tie the resistance band to the bar, pull it towards you, pull your shoulder behind your back, then move your back inward and let go slowly.

Dumbbells can also be done easily while sitting in a wheelchair. 

Injury Specific

Two aspects need to be kept in mind with respect to injury-specific exercises. The first is that there are exercises that can do harm to certain conditions and should be avoided. The second is that there are some exercises that are specifically beneficial to certain types of disabilities and/or injuries.

For example, isometric exercises (which are recommended for arthritis patients) involves pushing an immovable object without moving the joints or altering muscle lengths.

Our next section focuses on Cardio exercises, specifically: Rehab bikes. We will discuss our choices for the best rehab bikes for the wheelchair-bound.

Best Rehab Bikes for Wheelchair Users

Rehab bikes can be both motorized or completely manual. Most rehab bikes have an option to adopt for both hand and feet exercise. Rehab bikes are great exercise gadgets for circulation issues, MS sufferers, stroke victims, people who have undergone knee replacement surgery or anyone who has been prescribed limb movement as part of their exercise regimen.

We have ranked 5 top rehab bikes for use of wheelchair-bound individuals:

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike

The Sunny health & fitness bike features a reliable and quiet magnetic system, With 8 low-level micro tabs to increase or decrease resistance and tailor you work out as per your need

It also features large, ergonomically designed paddles on hand and foot which can be used as both paddles as well as grips.

An LCD display featuring exercise details such as time, speed, distance and calories makes it easy to track how much exercise you have been able to grind. The rehab machine can be placed on top of a table.

PROS:

  • Compact, portable design
  • Ergonomically designed handles/paddles
  • Quiet

CONS:

  • Slides around if not held by tape or backed to a wall
  • No switch off option for the LCD display

Sale
Sunny Health & Fitness...
  • SAFETY STRAPS: Pedals work well with both feet and hands. Pedals are adjustable to fit foot or hands for safety and stability.
  • ADJUSTABLE TENSION: 8 Levels of tension for a versatile workout. Adjust resistance to challenge your arms and legs toward building muscles.
  • EASY TO READ LCD: Displays Time, Speed, Distance, ODM, Calories
  • DURABLE DESIGN: Supports 220 lb maximum user weight limit.

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise Bike Arm and Leg Exerciser

This is a compact, lightweight exercise bike with a 15-inch wide base and sturdy frame. The Patented Magnetic resistance provides double the resistance of other similar rehab bikes.

There are adjustable velcro straps on the foot paddles to accommodate for all types of sizes and a small LCD monitor measures Time, distance, speed and calories.

The bike can be placed on top of a table to use it as a hand exercise machine as well.

The Magne Trainer has a step-less resistance dial, which means that it is not limited to 8 settings and can be refined exactly as per the user’s needs.

PROS:

  • Patented magnetic resistance machine
  • No-step resistance settings
  • Small size

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • It can be difficult to set it up with a chair for hand exercise

MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise...
  • Compact, lightweight commercial grade arm and leg exerciser; 15 inch wide base and sturdy steel frame
  • Patented magnetic resistance; More than twice the resistance range of the other magnetic pedal exercisers
  • Sturdy steel base and wide footprint for excellent stability; Both legs are over 15-Inch wide
  • Adjustable Velcro straps on pedals to accommodate all foot sizes; pedals work with both feet and hands
  • Electronic monitor displays Speed, Distance, Time and Calories. Runs on single AA Battery (included)

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser

Simple design, high utility, sturdy frame. These are the characteristics that define the Vaunn medical pedal exercise machine. It is a low impact, gentle exerciser for the arms and legs.

The machine has a single chrome structure, with no messy screws and soldering to hold together multiple pieces. This gives the structure a lot of stability and gives it an elegant look as well. The chrome frame also ensures that the exerciser remains rust-free during its lifetime.

The legs have non-skid ribbed rubber covers which keep the machine stable on the ground or table while exercising and reduces the risk of accidental injury due to the machine skidding off or slipping.

At a size of 15X21X12 inches, the machine is compact and can be put anywhere (like under the table, or over a desk). Thus, it gives a lot of freedom to exercise at any time as per one’s choosing.

PROS:

  • Compact, durable rust-free frame
  • Anti-skid rubber padding on the feet
  • No assembly required comes packed as a complete piece
  • Small size

CONS:

  • The pedal has straps that are not easy to put on
  • The pedal cycle is a bit bumpy

Vaunn Medical Pedal Exerciser...
  • PHYSICAL THERAPY EXERCISER - Provides gentle low impact exercise for arm and leg muscle toning. Exercise pedals help improve blood circulation via physiotherapy.
  • ARMS AND LEGS EXERCISER - Can be used as an arm exerciser or leg peddler during physiotherapy
  • TENSION ADJUSTABLE - Adjust the strength of your workout therapy based on your needs
  • SAFE AND STABLE- Made with single strong chrome frame construction to avoid wobbly structure. Eliminate traditional multi-piece structure joint together by pieces of screws which often causes the peddler to be rickety and shaky during use . Non-skid ribbed rubber platform and reinforced rubber feet provide traction and security on any floors/tables/surfaces.
  • LIFETIME DURABILITY & RUST RESISTANT FRAME- Triple-layered chrome-plated, silver with black heavy duty steel construction offers ultimate stability & lifetime durability. Guarantees product to stay rust-free forever.

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hausse Folding Exercise Peddler

This is another compact, light exerciser which can be used atop a table for exercising the hands. This exerciser has options to adjust the amount of friction generated, thus increasing or decreasing the tension and hence the intensity of the exercise.

It has anti-slip rubber pads on the legs to hold it in place during exercise, and an electronic display that shows useful info like exercise time, revolution count, revolutions per minute(RPM) and calories burned.

It has a unique folding design which makes it compact for storage and for taking with you anywhere you go.

PROS:

  • Folding design for storage and portability
  • Good features for the price
  • Sturdy frame

CONS:

  • The unit’s metal parts become very hot when pedalled for a long duration or at high resistance
  • Pedalling motion may not be very smooth

Hausse Folding Exercise...
  • Be used to strengthen arms and legs, helps stimulate blood circulation and increase muscle strength. Product Dimensions: 20.7" x 14.2" x 13”. Folded Dimensions: 12.6" x 14.2" x 7.1”.
  • Press the red button, the electronic display shows exercise time, revolution count, revolutions per minute(RPM), calories burned, tracks the progress of your workout. Suitable for office workers who need sports, as well as people who need exercise.
  • Based on your needs, adjust the knob to control the resistance level and exercise intensity for a personalized exercise experience. Under the desk to use, we suggest the height of desk more than 47 inches.
  • Four oversized anti-slip rubber pads prevent the bike sliding while pedaling, more stable to pedal and protect surfaces. An extra strap is provided for securing. The adjustable foot band can flexibly adapt to users' feet of different sizes to meet different needs.
  • Very easy to fold and open, no assembling is required, legs fold under for compact storage and the foldable design makes the peddler portable, can be used in the office as well as at home, easily fitting under a desk or similar space.

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot Pedal

The Portable mini-cycle bike has features similar to other rehab bikes on this list. 

It can be used to exercise both arms and legs, it has a tension adjustment knob to adjust the resistance level 

It also has a multifunction display for tracking the Time, Distance, Count and Calorie.

PROS:

  • Compact in size
  • Durable

CONS:

  • Assembly of the pedal is a bit complicated

Sale
Portable Mini Cycle Bike Foot...
  • [ Arm & Leg Exercise Bike ] - It can be used to exercise the arms and legs, promote blood circulation, improve muscle endurance and release work pressure. Best choice for postoperative recovery (especially suitable for seniors with inconvenient legs and white-collars who don't exercise regularly)
  • [ Specification ] - 15.7”L x 13.8”W x 12.2”H (40 x 35 x 31cm), net weight 7.4 lbs, portable exercise bike can be easily fit under the desk and doesn't occupy too much space. Better work on a carpet
  • [ Adjustable ] - Use the tension knob to adjust the most suitable resistance level for you. At the same time, you can use a screwdriver to adjust the length of the strap to the position that suits you best
  • [ Multifunctional Display ] - Readable display screen can help you track the Time, Distance, Count, Calorie by simply pressing the red button. Adjust the amount of exercise appropriately according to your physical condition
  • [ Easily assemble ] - The arm & leg rehabilitation training bike is easy to assemble. But attention please, you must read our User Manual carefully before installing it

Last update 2020-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

As with most other things in life, exercise is a task that the wheelchair-bound should approach with confidence and a positive attitude. 

While it is true that there may be many forms of exercise that are out of bounds for someone in a wheelchair, it is equally true that the benefits of even light, regular exercise are immense. 

It helps to keep the muscles and tendons flexible, keeps the heart in good shape and wards off many chronic and debilitating diseases such as diabetes and coronary dysfunction, it can also help in reducing muscle atrophy and bringing back strength into the legs (in case of injury-related or temporary use of a wheelchair).

Even more important than the physical benefits of doing exercise are the mental benefits that it brings – Exercise builds self-confidence, releasing endorphins which improve your mood and make you cheerful.

It is very important to form a habit, even if you are doing light exercise. You should always have a regimen, fixed schedules and a complementary diet and nutrition plan along with your exercises.

Ritesh is an engineer and an PGDM from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He has worked at senior positions in corporate strategy, planning and data analytics. Ritesh’s tryst with help and wellness started 9 years ago, when his mother developed a severe calcium deficiency and had to be confined to move with the support of a walker. What was once a difficult experience, soon became a healthy obsession. Reading about the latest health products, gadgets and proper diet and exercise for the elderly became a hobby. Ritesh brings his enthusiasm for adaptive equipment, health and fitness to this blog.

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