Regular exercise is important for keeping clients with disabilities healthy and happy. Children with disabilities should exercise at least an hour per day to keep strong, while adults can benefit from 75 minutes of moderate cardio workouts each week.
Various exercises can help improve muscle strength and elasticity, allow for greater blood circulation, and help your clients to develop a better range of motion. Exercise could even help prevent other health problems like obesity and coronary heart disease in your clients.
As a developmental service worker (DSW), there are a few fun and calming exercises that can accommodate clients with physical disabilities. Read on to learn more about the kinds of activities you can encourage your clients to try.
DSWs Can Recommend Tai Chi for Wheelchair Users
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art form that has helped numerous practitioners around the world. Thanks to the innovations of Dr. Zibin Guo and the Beijing 2008 Paralympics Committee, 13 Tai Chi movements have now been adapted for wheelchair users. Each movement targets the upper body, helping your clients to improve mobility in their wrists, shoulders, and waists, while promoting better circulation.
Commencing forms get your clients upright and relaxed before beginning each movement and transition. Many of the Tai Chi movements, like the Brush Knee and Push Right Hand involve manipulating the arms and hands, rolling the fist, and sometimes bringing the palms up or down to the elbow and knee. While this form of Tai Chi is not intended to be too strenuous, DSWs can help their clients by guiding their actions, and supporting their arms if they experience weakness.
Isometric Exercises Can be Great for Clients with Limited Mobility
Isometric exercises are excellent for helping clients with limited mobility maintain strength in their abdominal and bicep muscles. Isometric exercises are simple enough to perform while seated, requiring your clients to push or pull on a fixed object, or to tighten their muscles. Your clients should try to do these exercises without moving their joints too much so they can get the most out of this activity.
One isometric exercise can be done while sitting in front of a table and grabbing hold of it. Your clients should not actually lift the table, but tighten their bicep muscles enough to simulate the movement. Graduates of DSW courses should make sure that their clients don’t exert themselves, as the amount of tightness this exercise provides should be similar to that of a standard curl. Your clients can apply the same principle to their stomachs by tightening their abdominal muscles for up to 30 seconds. After releasing the tension, your clients should rest for about 10 seconds before repeating the exercise.
Grads of DSW Courses Can Use Aquatic Therapy for Children with Cerebral Palsy
If you work with children suffering from cerebral palsy after your developmental service worker program, water-based activities could be an entertaining way for them to get exercise. Cerebral palsy can negatively affect a person’s posture and mobility, but as the amount of gravity decreases in water it allows children with this condition to move more easily. Aquatic therapy can help a child with cerebral palsy improve muscle tone and flexibility, while giving them a feeling of independence and raising their self-esteem.
Some aquatic therapy exercises include walking or running in deep or shallow water. Your clients can also grip the side of the pool and tread water to strengthen the muscles in their legs. Of course, DSWs should always be mindful of their client’s safety, and ensure that these children wear life preservers whenever necessary.