It’s a known fact that staying in a seated position for long periods has detrimental effects on our physical and mental well-being.
This is true for office workers, drivers, students, and especially wheelchair users. But while people with full mobility can get up to move, it’s more of a challenge for those who are disabled.
That’s why the standing wheelchair benefits users in a multitude of ways. We discuss how in this article!
A standing wheelchair is a manual or motorized mobility device that utilizes assistive technology to safely support the user in a standing position.
The standing frame of this chair distinguishes it from other wheelchairs and is often equipped with a manual or hydraulic lifting mechanism that raises the user from a sitting to a standing position.
Some electric standing wheelchairs can even be driven while the user is upright.
The users who can benefit the most from the standing power wheelchair are those with mild to severe disabilities, such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and paraplegics.
This type of wheelchair also offers numerous health benefits, which we’ll cover shortly, but note that you pay the price for what it can do.
The standing wheelchair price is high, with manual standing wheelchairs costing from $10,000 to $15,000 and stand-up power wheelchairs costing between $18,000-$55,000.
Now that you know what a standing wheelchair is and that it costs a small fortune, you’re probably wondering what exactly is so great about it and whether it has superpowers!
For wheelchair users, it’s incredible how a simple change of position can do so much for health- we explain how next.
The human body needs to move. Alas, we are far from being sedentary creatures, and the implications of sitting too long can be devastating on our bodies and also our mental health.
So yes, the standing power chair is crazy expensive, but its benefits for adults and children are unparalleled. Let’s dive in!
One of the ways sitting negatively impacts the body is by increasing pressure and suppressing movement of the upper body.
This makes it difficult for the respiratory system to work properly, ultimately decreasing the amount of oxygen that is supplied to all areas of the body. This leads to exhaustion and discomfort.
Fortunately, the way to improve breathing is by standing up, elongating the body so that pressure is released and the spine is stabilized. This allows oxygen and blood to flow easily, supplying vital organs with what’s needed to function as intended.
2. Reduces the Risk of and Relieves Pressure Ulcers
We might not think about the skin much, but it takes on a ton of pressure in certain areas due to sitting for an extended time.
This constant pressure can lead to ulcers on the skin, commonly found on the coccyx, backbone, and shoulder blades of wheelchair users.
The best way to prevent these painful ulcers is by getting the blood pumping with the help of a stand-up manual wheelchair.
By raising the user and placing a cushion where needed to correct the body position, pressure is fully relieved in these sensitive areas for enhanced comfort and circulation.
Once again, gravity is the culprit for health issues that arise from sitting sedentary.
While seated, it’s quite difficult for the digestive system to function at its best, especially affecting the bladder and bowels.
In a slouched position, urine is unable to drain completely, which can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
While standing, the abdomen extends, giving the digestive system the room to stretch out and dispose of waste quickly and efficiently.
4. Can Improve Bone Density
When you stand up, your bones hold up your body weight, which is like a workout for your skeletal system. In other words, standing keeps your bones strong and healthy.
When seated, your bones don’t have to put in as much effort to support your body, and over time this can cause them to become frail.
Reduced bone density can lead to the development of osteoporosis and other bone deformities. That’s why it’s important to ensure you get enough vitamin D, Calcium, and movement.
For wheelchair users, a stand-up electric wheelchair is advantageous, forcing the bones to support the body’s upright position.
Even though it’s a simple movement, it’s still highly beneficial for people with limited mobility in their lower bodies. This ensures that the user’s bone density stays in peak shape.
5. Blood Circulation Increases
Think about it: when you’re sitting down, your body scrunched up, from bent legs to a slouched back.
This position thwarts the flow of blood to all areas of the body, which in turn decreases the flow of oxygen that is essential for the organs to work efficiently.
As we mentioned earlier, standing up improves pulmonary function. Therefore, we can deduce that it also improves the circulatory system.
Fresh blood and oxygen pumping through the body means less fatigue, enhanced concentration, and healthier organs.
6. Less Muscle Spasms and Tension
Spasticity is an imbalance that creates an exaggerated tension in certain muscles, causing rigidity or contractures.
Sitting for long periods is one of the main causes of this uncomfortable condition, allowing the muscles to bunch up in an inactive state.
A sit-to-stand manual wheelchair stretches the muscles, loosening built-up tension and reducing disruptive spasms.
7. Aids in the Physical Development of Children
Although disabled children also depend on wheelchairs, it’s important to remember that they are constantly growing.
Sitting for prolonged periods can hamper normal growth, which is why standing is encouraged from a young age- as young as eight to 10 months old.
Standing helps with the formation of the acetabulum and decreases the risk of developing spasticity and hip subluxation as children grow older.
A customized standing wheelchair can help diminish many of these issues, allowing the child to change positions multiple times throughout the day and giving the muscles, bones, and joints room to develop accurately.
8. Enjoy a Higher Quality of Life
The standing wheelchair certainly has many positive advantages for the body, but it also enhances mental well-being too.
In a standing position, wheelchair users can speak with a person eye-to-eye instead of constantly looking up, increasing confidence and socialization.
Users also gain independence by being able to reach easily for items and take part in daily routines. Imagine being at your daughter’s wedding and walking her down the aisle!
Final Thoughts: 8 Standing Wheelchair Benefits
Standing wheelchair benefits certainly make the expensive price worth it, giving disabled individuals the movement needed to keep their body strong, healthy, and minds happy.
By changing from a sitting to a standing position throughout the day, the organs, muscles, and joints can work and stretch, improving blood and oxygen flow while enhancing overall functionality.
References & Resources
- Stand Up, MDA.
- Health Check: Sitting vs. Standing, The Conversation.
- Standing Wheelchairs- Behind the Scene, United Spinal.
- Cerebral Palsy Wheelchairs & Scooters, Cerebral Palsy Guidance.
- Development of an Intelligent Standing Wheelchair With Reclining Characteristics, IntechOpen.