Losing mobility is like losing independence, and it is one of the biggest fears most wheelchair users experience. The prospect of depending on others to help you perform the simplest things or to go anywhere is extremely restricting.
But with a manual wheelchair, also known as a self-propelled wheelchair, it is possible to gain the freedom to move around without depending on others for assistance. From meeting your friends to going out shopping or taking a small evening-to-morning trip, you can do everything by yourself without the help of someone else.
What is a Manual Wheelchair?
A manual wheelchair is a type of device that an individual uses to move without the assistance of a battery. There are self-propelled manual wheelchairs available, which give you the freedom to move about on your own, and there are companion-propelled manual wheelchairs available that means you need external assistance or a person to push you.
If you have a caretaker available 24 x 7, a companion manual wheelchair with companion handles makes a lot of sense. But if you are comfortable moving around under your own steam and want complete freedom of movement, then self-propelling manual wheelchairs are best for you.
Is a Manual Wheelchair Right for You?
If you are keen to invest in a self-propelled wheelchair, you must think about whether you really want to push yourself around all the time, since moving such a chair needs lots of upper body strength. Also, if you lack the upper body strength then moving with a self-propelling wheelchair can be a big challenge for you. Hence, if you are older or do not have enough limb support to move the wheelchair all by you, a companion manual wheelchair would be a better choice.
A self-propelled manual wheelchair is an excellent option for those with upper body strength because it is easy to use, maintain, and is lightweight. Additionally, the self-propelling wheelchair can be moved with both arms. This means that it offers a degree of exercise that is good for your health. But if you use it improperly, then it can result in arm injuries from repetitive incorrect movement. Remember, you can always consult your rehabilitation specialist or doctor to help you pick the right wheelchair and through them, you can learn the correct way to use a self-propelling manual wheelchair.
What are the Benefits of Using a Self-Propelled Manual Wheelchair?
- Wheels – Manual wheelchairs have rear wheels that are larger than the front wheels. This makes it easy to propel them. Additionally, such wheels offer a much more comfortable ride on uneven surfaces as compared to other wheelchairs.
- Comfort – Though electric wheelchairs offer you absolute freedom from assisted mobility, one benefit of manual wheelchairs is that the latter offers a more comfortable riding experience. Manual wheelchairs maintain a high comfort level even when riding on rough surfaces.
- Varieties of Configurations Available – Manual wheelchairs are available in a range of configurations and weights. There are also ultra-lightweight and standard wheelchairs available. You can even find sport recreation wheelchairs that require less energy to move, while offering enhanced mobility.
- No Need for Charging – Manual wheelchairs do not need charging. Hence, you can save big bucks on your utility bills.
- Compact Size – Usually, most of the manual wheelchairs are available in compact size. Hence, they are convenient to store and transport.
- Cost-Efficient – This is one of the biggest benefits of manual wheelchairs. Yes, it’s true that you must put in some additional effort to move the wheelchair, but at the same time, you will spend less money on a manual wheelchair as compared to investing in an electric wheelchair. Undoubtedly, it is the most economical choice.
How to Pick the Best Manual Wheelchair?
To select an appropriate manual wheelchair, you must research the category or type of manual wheelchair, model, price, features, and added functionalities. Here are some of the top-rated manual wheelchairs.
In addition to this, you must pick a chair with:
- Enough weight capacity
- Optimal Width
- Comfortable seating
- Durable engineering or construction
- Corrosion – resistant frame
- Easy-to-clean upholstery
Manual wheelchairs can offer you the complete freedom to get around by yourself. But since there are quite a few varieties of manual wheelchairs available, picking the perfect one can be quite difficult. Hence, we suggest you consult a specialist or doctor so that you pick a manual wheelchair that offers the perfect balance of comfort, convenience and mobility.