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  • Are SparkPeople's nutrition recommendations accurate for people who are in wheelchairs (and therefore mostly sedentary)?

The SparkPeople program does have the ability to determine calorie needs for people who get very little activity. However, we encourage you to meet with the following professionals to get the most reliable assessment possible for your needs:

  1. A Physical Therapist. Your doctor can give you a referral to a therapist in your area. He or she can then determine the types of activity that you can do safely, such as various forms of aerobic activity, strength training (with weights or resistance bands), range of motion exercises, and stretches. Once your physical therapist gives you a plan, you can then share your activity recommendations with…
  2. A Registered Dietitian. Your doctor can give you a referral to a dietitian in your area. He or she can then determine your specific calorie needs, based on the activity recommendations from your physical therapist, your medical history and your current health condition.

If your activity is limited, set a realistic weight loss goal knowing that you won't be able to lose weight as quickly as someone who burns a lot more calories through daily activity and exercise. For someone who cannot increase their physical activity due to medical reasons, your calorie deficit for weight loss must come from decreasing your caloric intake alone. People in this situation will also lose weight more slowly than people who can cut calories through both diet and exercise. 

Check out the following SparkPeople Resources for more information:

Strength Training with a Disability
How to Use an Arm Ergometer
Video: Seated Resistance Band Workout Video
SparkTeam: People with Disabilities & Handicaps

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