Maintaining an active lifestyle while relying on a wheelchair might not seem doable. But in reality, people in wheelchairs can move around just as well as people without limited mobility.
When it comes to using your wheelchair outdoors, it’s definitely possible but you have to take a few precautions. Here are some tips for operating a wheelchair safely outdoors.
Stay Off Of Uneven Surfaces
Any uneven surface can set your wheelchair off-balance and cause you to topple over. To prevent this from happening, avoid slopes, staircases, curbs, rocky roads, and inclines. You’re not only preventing injury to yourself but preventing injury to anyone around you. This tip also applies to those 11.6 million people using canes, walkers, and crutches.
Be Cautious of the Weather
Before you head outside, it’s important to check the weather. The rain and snow will make the ground slick and slippery, so avoid going out in those conditions. If you do have to go out in the wetter weather avoid rolling through puddles as they can harm the tires. You should also have someone with you for assistance purposes if you plan to go out in inclement weather. Even if you’re used to being self-reliant, you should reach out for help. But if no one is available to help you and you need to be self-reliant, take your time and use caution when traveling.
Similar to vehicles using caution around potholes, wheelchair users should avoid them as well. If you hit a pothole in a wheelchair you’re risking tipping over and getting seriously injured. If you didn’t have anyone with you at the time of the fall, you might not be able to receive help.
Find Your Center of Gravity and Avoid Bending Forward or Backward
When you get outside, take a moment and move around in your chair to find your balance. You’ll be able to find the point at which you feel the most comfortable by shifting your body weight around the seat. If you’re trying to reach out to something in front of you, avoid leaning forward and backward. Roll your chair as close to the object as it can get before reaching out to grab what you need.
Even if you’ve been self-reliant your whole life but now find yourself wheelchair-bound, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your love for the outdoors. You can still get outside as long as you’re cautious about the weather, about potholes, and can find your center of gravity.