Three Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Wheelchair
In the United States alone, more than three million people over the age of fifteen are wheelchair users. People need wheelchairs for a multitude of reasons, and thus, no two users need exactly the same thing from their chair. An ill-fitting or poorly designed chair is not just a nuisance or an eyesore, it can be painful and even dangerous. That’s why it’s so important to make your wheelchair fit you and your lifestyle perfectly. If you’re in a wheelchair, and you like to live an active lifestyle (or you just want to be more self-reliant), it’s even more crucial that your high performance wheelchair won’t slow down your adventures. Here are four ways to customize your chair to keep your moving smoothly, whether you’re on the court or traveling the world.
- Wheelchair Footrests: One of the most important considerations for any lifestyle, wheelchair footrests can make or break your comfort. Not only that, properly fitted wheelchair footrests can improve posture and promote better blood circulation. There are different types of footrests available on the market, but even if you choose to use the ones that come with your chair, it’s crucial that they be adjusted to work for your body. Most footrests can be categorized as either one or two-piece wheelchair footrests. The majority of people use two-piece models. Sports wheelchairs typically come with one-piece varieties, also known as footboards. If you like to move around outdoors, you may want to consider adding neoprene impact guards to the footboard to prevent scratches. Wheelchair footrests might not be the most exciting detail to think about, but they definitely deserve your attention.
- Wheelchair Tires: Obviously, tires are another key element of your chair. You’ll want to consider the environment you’ll spend the most time in when considering the best tires for you. If you’re an outdoorsman (or woman), you’ll need a very different type of tire than if you plan to mostly work out on the basketball court. Pneumatic tires are the most practical choice if you are tackling rough, uneven terrain. They are light, shock-absorbent, and have great traction. On the downside, they require a fair bit of upkeep, and can puncture easily. For indoor users, urethane tires can be a great choice. These tires are simple to care for, but they are quite heavy and not easy to install. They should not be used as everyday tires, but rather, for indoor sports.
- Wheelchair Hand Rims: The rims on your wheels can make a huge difference to your performance and comfort. When considering which ones to purchase, you’ll want to keep in mind some qualities such as durability, comfort, brake control, hand grip, and size. It’s vital to choose the ones that will feel good long-term, and they need to fit both your wheelchair and the size of your hands. There are some types that are well-suited for folks who have grip issues or difficulties with hand mobility. There are a few different options when it comes to the material the rims are made of, and also the material used in the coating. Do your research and find the ones that will ergonomically work the best for you and your activities.
When it comes to customizing your wheelchair, price is only one factor amongst many other important ones. Although it may be tempting to go for the cheapest options, you really need to do your homework to find the ones that are best suited for you. Your wheelchair does not define you, but it is an enormous part of your life, so make your comfort and performance a top priority. Happy adventuring!