Exercises for Children With Limited Mobility

October 13, 2020
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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If your child’s health or life circumstances prevent them from having full mobility, you may be wondering how to encourage as active a lifestyle as possible. After all, regular exercise promotes good cardiovascular health as well as allows children to interact with peers as they play or do other fun activities. But is it really necessary to make your child exercise? If so, how can you get started? What are some ideas for children with limited mobility? And is there a way to make it fun?

Benefits of Exercise for Children

Ensuring that regular exercise becomes part of your child’s lifestyle is crucial for them to have the highest quality of life possible. While certain benefits are well known, others often tend to fall off the radar — yet can have significant effects on your child’s overall wellbeing. These include:

  • Improving metabolic rate
  • Improving strength
  • Promoting independence
  • Maintaining a full range of motion
  • Improving sleep
  • Increasing bone density — thus reducing the risk of fractures
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Improving the ability to concentrate

5 Exercises for Children With Limited Mobility

Prior to starting any exercise program, remember to consult with your child’s pediatrician to ensure that they are appropriate for their age and medical condition. Once you have the green light, find a good time of the day to make exercise a part of your child’s daily routine. Some fun activities include:

1. Ball Toss

Sit about 10 feet apart from your child and use both of your hands to toss a ball, aiming at their chest. Have the child catch it and throw it back at you. Decide beforehand how many repetitions you will do — or hold a competition to see for how long you can go — with the winner getting to pick a book or TV show to read or watch later as a reward. This can also be more fun by having more people participate, such as siblings, caregivers, or other family members.

2. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are great for strengthening the shoulders of a child in a wheelchair. They are also easy to do — simply have the child hold each end of the band and stretch back and forth, at different speeds. The exercises can be modified by doing them diagonally and by resting one end of the band on the knees. They can also be adjusted from light to medium, to strong, depending on your child’s strength and increased level of fitness.

3. Arm Exercises

Exercises for the arms promote strength for the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, and fingers — which are all necessary to develop and maintain fine motor skills that are crucial for activities of daily living. Front and lateral arm raises are easy to do, and as your child gets stronger, they can progress to using light dumbbells.

4. Seated Twists

Get an age-appropriate medicine ball for your child. Have them hold it with both hands at chest level, and twist their torso slowly at the waist, from right to left, back and forth for several repetitions. You can make it more fun by playing their favorite music as they exercise, or by having them complete a couple of sets during a commercial break while watching their favorite TV shows.

5. Wheelchair Platform for Wii

Video games have always been appealing to children of all ages. And, in addition to being fun, they can be a helpful tool to get your mobility-challenged child to be more active. The Wii Board for Wheelchair Users lets kids interact with these games while keeping their wheelchairs securely in place.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.