There are some great advances in the power chair industry nowadays. I’ve only had three power chairs in my post injury life, but I’ve been pretty fortunate (thanks insurance) to have some great ones. Typically, people see a wheelchair as a burden or think less of a wheelchair confined person. Well guess what – you’re wrong, a wheelchair gives us freedom!!! Now, with better engineering, we’ve been lucky to experience a better life. With this chair, I can stand, elevate, and recline specific areas of my chair. This gives me freedom at home, at the store, at work, or anywhere! The elevation mode helps me reach the top cabinets or shelves at home, I can recline if I need to nap, I can recline if I feel lightheaded, and it also helps my core balance which effects my independence. But the part I want to focus on are the health benefits of standing.
Standing is very beneficial for anyone. But it’s very difficult to stand when you’re paralyzed (duh). For the human body in general, it is very unhealthy to sit for several hours a day. Now, think of a wheelchair user and how long they sit during a day. For me, it can easily add up to 12 hours – that’s not good. Prolonged sitting has many side effects for a wheelchair user and here are a few:
Side effects from prolonged sitting
- You can develop pressure sores
- It creates poor blood circulation
- Your muscles will tighten
- Your bone density decreases, becoming fragile (osteoporosis)
- Breathing can be difficult
- Gravity is unable to activate your bladder/bowels
BUT, if you have the resources or strength to stand, it is the best thing for you. Here are some benefits:
Benefits of standing
- You are weight-bearing which makes your bones stronger
- Your heart is pumping harder which improves blood circulation and blood pressure (this improves in time, sometimes I do get lightheaded)
- Your diaphragm has more space open, better breathing means more oxygen in your blood
- It removes pressure from your pressure points which helps prevent/heal pressure wounds
- It allows gravity to help your digestive system
- It stretches your muscles
- I can reach high objects
The best thing about my standing chair is that I can drive my chair while standing and I do not need help transferring to a standing frame.
The downside of this standing chair is that it is a taller seat and has a wider base. Before you purchase, make sure it fits with your routine. For example, sitting under your dinner table, fitting in your vehicle, fitting through doorways, etc.
The standing chair I use is the F5 Corpus Vertical Stander (VS) Permobil front wheel drive power wheelchair.
Soon to come: a tour of my standing power chair! Make sure you subscribe so you get the notification when I post!