Limited mobility means the number of calories you burn off is reduced - and therefore weight gain is much more likely.
Regular weighing when mobility is limited is vital to ensure that you are not in danger of becoming overweight or obese. Doing so will also let you know when it is time to consider taking steps to shed unwanted kilos.
In this guest blog post, Lucy Wyndham, who’s father is a full time wheelchair user, draws from her own experience and knowledge and explains the importance of keeping track of your weight if your mobility is limited.
Weight and the Waist-to-Hip Ratio Matter
Evidence shows that people with disabilities can face issues like hypertension and diabetes earlier than the rest of the population, and that obesity is a likely contributing factor.
As noted by the NHS, “Adults who use wheelchairs can find it harder to lose weight because they tend to use fewer calories through physical activity.” The International Journal of Exercise Science cited that “wheelchair users with a normal BMI had a percentage of body fat that would be indicative of obesity in individuals without a disability.” The results are an important reminder that there are two important factors when it comes to indicating health: staying at a recommended weight, and watching your waist-to-hip ratio.
How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?
When you are on a weight loss diet, weighing yourself once a week is a good way to elicit your general progress. If you weigh yourself too often, you might feel unmotivated if you find that you haven’t lost weight on a given day. However, if you are simply maintaining your weight, a daily check is a nice way to stay committed to your health. Allowing the pounds to silently pack on can make it difficult to get back to your ideal weight, something that seems more achievable if you only have a couple of kilos to lose.
How can you weigh yourself if you use a wheelchair?
Weighing yourself in a wheelchair is easy thanks to the Tare function on wheelchair scales. This which will automatically deduct the weight of the wheelchair prior to use - displaying a negative reading on the indicator display. Although the process is easy, you can add to the comfort of the process by making your own padding for your seat, which will provide support while you are being wheeled into the machine. The entire process should take just a few minutes, and you can use your cushion to rest upon while your chair is being weighed.
Watch Out for Central Obesity
Research presented at a European Society of Cardiology Congress, carried out by F. Lopez-Jimenez et al, found that people who have large amounts of belly fat have a higher risk of death that those who can be considered obese (though being overweight or obese is also linked to heart and other diseases, as well as to a shorter lifespan). The reason for these findings, says American health expert Dr. Mercola, is the fact that central fat is strongly linked to insulin resistance, which speeds up the ageing process itself. A high level of waist fat - ‘central obesity’ - could also increase the risk of hypertension associated with obesity.
The Importance of a Nutritionist-Led Diet
Diet is key for anyone trying to lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, consulting a nutritionist will enable you to follow a healthy, realistic diet and set weekly weight loss goals to adhere to. Studies show that a Mediterranean diet (comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and vegetables and healthy Omega-3-rich fats) promotes heart health, battles inflammation, and helps keep weight at a healthy level. In essence, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. Aim to enjoy fewer calories than those recommended for someone of your sex and size, since having less muscle in the leg area means your body burns less calories.
Creative Movement is Key
Because disabilities can be vastly different, any exercise program should be personalised to one’s individual abilities and interests.
The aim should be to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week (take your pick from basketball, netball, badminton and other sports), and to complete two or more strength training sessions. Many gyms have rowing machines adapted for wheelchair use.
The right equipment will ensure that weighing yourself in a wheelchair is something you can do quickly and efficiently. Weight is an important indicator of your health, but so, too, is your waist-to-hip ratio. Exercise is important at all times but if you need to lose weight; it can help you achieve your aims in an enjoyable manner, whenever you support physical activity with a sound diet that provides you with the fuel you need to give your chosen sport your all.
Scales for weighing when mobility is limited
Marsden M-65X: The Marsden M-650 is a high capacity wheelchair weighing platforms with a gentle incline allowing for easy wheelchair access. The Marsden M-651 features a column-mounted indicator for easy weight readings. Handrail support is available on the Marsden M-652 (two handrails) and Marsden M-653 (one handrail).
Marsden M-610: Alternatively, the M-610 wheelchair weigh beams are designed for weighing almost any size of wheelchair. The beams are portable and can be positioned the desired distance apart for easy weighing.
To find out more about why weighing is important when mobility is limited and choosing the right scale for your needs, call Marsden on 01709 364296 or contact us here.