How to Lose Weight In A Wheelchair (Proven Methods)

If you or a loved one is confined to a wheelchair or has limited mobility you may have asked the question how to lose weight in a wheelchair and is it possible?  Yes, it’s possible.  The main fact is how many calories you are intaking and how much movement you are doing in order to burn those calories.   Wheelchair users are at a higher risk of weight gain purely because they will use less energy during the day. 

So, how to lose weight in a wheelchair?  In order to successfully lose weight while in a wheelchair you need to do is adjust your calorie intake and activity level.  You need to eat fewer calories while becoming more active. 

You will want to do these three things to lose weight when you are in a wheelchair.

  1. Mentally get your mind ready that you can and will lose weight no matter what.
  2. Seet a realistic goal to show yourself you can start to lose weight. 
  3. Learn what calorie amount you are consuming on a daily basis so you know how much you should be reducing your intake.
  4. Exercise to burn those calories and start to lose weight.  Even if you are in a wheelchair you can get your heart rate up and burn calories.

Table of Contents

Eating different and exercising will produce results

Losing weight while in a wheelchair can be difficult there is no doubt about it.  You need to try and be disciplined during the process and make sure you are watching what is eaten and the number of calories you are taking in.  Combine this with the proper movements in terms of exercise and you should start to see results in weight loss.   

Just like anything else formulating a plan and sticking to it is key.  It is very easy to slip back into eating wrong and not exercising properly.  Try to stick with a plan and you will start to see results.   Once you see progression it will become easier to follow the plan below as you will become excited that weight loss is happing while you’re in a wheelchair. You can do this!

Why you might be overweight

wheelchair users may find it hard to gauge the amount of calorie input that is taking place.  When this happens weight gain can happen easily. 

Unlike other people that are not in a wheelchair those of us that are in a wheelchair are in a different bracket of how many calories they will actually need versus how many calories they are actually consuming.   

Eating more calories but reducing the amount of energy that you exert will reduce weight gain for a lot of us.

Losing weight while in a wheelchair

As we stated above the main solution to lose weight while in your wheelchair is to change your diet by decreasing your calorie intake while increasing your exercise. 

You should also have a reachable goal in mind.  This could be to lose 1 to 2 pounds the first week to show yourself by changing up a few things you can indeed lose weight and it is possible to do this. 

Once you prove to yourself that you can lose weight you can set goals for more weight loss.  

Change your diet to lose weight while in a wheelchair

One of the first things you should do is change up your diet.  We want to make sure that we are not promoting that you follow these guidelines and are only stating our opinions here.  You should speak to your doctor or a dietitian to get the best possible plan in place for your situation.  

What is the average calorie intake of an average adult man and woman:

A good number to know is what the average man and woman’s calorie intake is.

  • Man:  2,500 calories in a day to maintain his average body weight.
  • Woman: 2,000 calories a day to maintain body weight

First and foremost you should note when your current diet looks like.  What do you eat on a daily basis?  You may not even realize what you are consuming.  

Once you do this you can start to adjust your diet.  Be sure you are consuming a healthy mix of foods like fruits and vegetables.  You should strive to have a healthy and nutritious diet.  

Just like any other adult eating a balanced diet is true for anyone, not just because you are in a wheelchair.  What does matter though is the number of calories you consume within this healthy mix of foods.  You will need to adjust your calorie intake because you will be moving less within your wheelchair 

When we speak about a healthy diet we are referring to the following types of foods:

  • Limited dairy foods and some milk
  • Limited meat, fish, and eggs
  • A good supply of vegetables and fruites.

More exercise in your wheelchair to speed up weight lost

Before starting any exercise routines you should speak to your doctor to make sure you are able to perform such exercises. 

Just because you are in a wheelchair does not mean you have to be inactive.  There are many different exercises you can do to up your activity level in order to lose weight.   You should start out with a goal just like eating habits.  you should set realistic goals to get active.  

We don’t mean that you have to go out and start racing in a wheelchair, or join a basketball league for wheelchair users.  

Start out small like making a habit of getting out and making journeys on your wheelchair even if it’s for 10 minutes a day.

Even if you pick up weights while in your chair and doing arm exercises or shoulder lifts you can feel better and burn calories.

Losing weight can make sitting in a wheelchair more comfortable

Sitting in a wheelchair or a seat for any prolonged period of time can get uncomfortable.  If your weight is higher than you would like losing weight can make sitting in a wheelchair more comfortable. 

Even with accessories like wheelchair cushions that make sitting more comfortable losing weight will make you healthier and feel better while seated. 

Losing weight is good for your health.  Even if you feel comfortable sitting in a wheelchair losing weight can be healthy for you regardless.  It can also provide you with a better position and allow you to move longer and easier in your wheelchair.

Related questions

Do wheelchairs have a weight limit?  Yes, almost every wheelchair has a suggested weight limit that should not be exceeded.  This is for your safety.  Before purchasing a new wheelchair each manufacturer will have this number listed so you can know what the maximum weight limit is.

Is there a calorie count calculator?  Yes, there are daily calorie calculators that you can use to enter your age, weight, height, and gender to calculate a daily calorie intake.

Can you lose weight by going into the pool?  Yes, pull exercise is a great way for someone that has limited mobility issues to get exercise.  Pool exercise is also a great way for seniors to get a low impact exercise by going into the pool to limit stress on joints. 

Our final thoughts on losing weight while in a wheelchair

We know that losing weight can be difficult and for those of us that are in a wheelchair can make it even more of a challenge.  But we know it can be done with the right mindset and dedication to changing up your current diet and making a real effort at burning calories by getting in some important exercise.

Losing weight can really help you feel more comfortable while sitting in your chair and allow you to move faster and farther than you could if you were out of shape.  Set a small goal of a pound for the first week and gradually build up from there.  We know you can do this!

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About ASmith

Adam Smith is the main researcher and contributor at Mobility Medical Supply. Adam has many years of research in public data, and software security. With Mobility issues within Adam's family, he decided to dedicate in-depth guides on mobility products to anyone looking to improve movement and gain independence.