Four Ways to Make It Easier to Push a Manual Wheelchair
For many people, pushing a wheelchair can be exhausting. But with time, practice and patience, usually it gets easier and easier. But there are four important tips to make pushing a manual wheelchair easier.
First, use the right propelling movements. How many wheel propelling movements are there? As demonstrated in the video below, there are 4 types of propelling movements and the most efficient is the semi-circular motion. In the Semi-circular motion, your hands make a semi-circle or oval movement. Hands start at the "10 O'clock position" on the wheelchair and release with a flick of the fingers at the "2 O'clock position". Watch the video below to see a demonstration of the four propelling motions including the semi-circular motion.
Second, positioning and the posture play an important role. You should sit up straight, not reclined. Sit back in the chair, but not so far back that you are out of balance.
Third, get the right features of the wheelchair. Most important properties of the wheelchair that impact propelling are:
* weight, the lighter the better.
* customization, adjusted to fit your body, usually recommended by a trained therapist.
* diameter of the wheels (both rear and casters). Bigger wheels will be easier to push on flat surfaces, but harder to push uphill.
* size of the tires. "Narrow tyres for smooth hard surfaces like pavement are best. However chunky tyres are useful on soft or loose ground.”
* proper inflation of the tires. Under inflated tires can make pushing the wheelchair much more difficult.
Fourth, getting a good grip on the pushrims will make pushing easier for many users. Improved grip can be achieved with quality pushrim covers or wheelchair gloves with grip material built into the palms. Either will improve your grip and make pushing easier. But combined your grip and performance will be dramatically improved.