When most people think of exercise, they think of gym memberships or jogging or riding a bike along the bay. But exercise isn’t restricted to activities that require a full range of mobility. People with limited mobility can receive the physical and psychological benefits of exercise, too. With simple equipment and a little creative thinking, almost anyone can devise an individualized workout routine to improve strength, flexibility, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. Check out these 10 great exercise tips for those with limited mobility:
Tip 1: Get medical clearance first
Before planning your routine, be sure to discuss with your doctor, physical therapist, or other health care provide about activities that are suitable for your mobility issue. Also ask how much exercise you should do each day or week and which exercises and activities to avoid.
Tip 2: Find activities you enjoy
Whether it’s lifting weights, swimming, or wheelchair yoga, choose an activity that’s interesting and fun instead of something that feels like an obligation. Personal tastes and capabilities vary, so try different things. Even activities that sound unappealing on paper can be surprisingly enjoyable in practice.
Tip 3: Start slow
Even if you discover an exercise you actually look forward to doing, it’s important to start slow and keep your goals manageable. The smallest fitness accomplishments will keep you motivated and confident, but you won’t accomplish anything if you burn out too fast.
Tip 4: Build your exercise toolbox
Aside from dumbbell weights, other useful exercise tools include ankle and wrist weights, resistance bands, small hula hoops, and exercise balls. But exercising doesn’t require a sizeable investment at the sporting goods store. Bungee cords can be used in place of resistance bands, and anything heavy can be used as a weight, even soup cans!
Tip 5: Incorporate assistive devices
Using a wheelchair or walker might seem restrictive to exercise, but not if you use them as exercise equipment. Chair aerobics and chair dancing are great cardiovascular exercises, and you can wrap resistance bands under your wheelchair to perform strength-training exercises.
Tip 6: Get wet
Water exercises like swimming and “aquajogging” support the body and reduce the risk of muscle or joint discomfort, and many gyms and community pools offer water aerobics and other pool-therapy programs with access for wheelchair users.
Tip 7: Get flexible
Yoga and Tai Chi are incredibly adaptive exercises. Poses and movements can be modified to accommodate your physical mobility as well as age, weight, and medical condition, even if you use a wheelchair. Stretching in general can help reduce the pain and muscle pressure that often results from sitting for long periods, so even if structured exercises aren’t your preference, it’s important to keep flexible.
Tip 8: Stay safe
Stop exercising immediately if at any point in your routine you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, or clammy hands. Sometimes a brief break will be enough to try again. It might also help if you shorten the length of your exercises and work out more frequently in order to avoid the need to stop in the middle.
Tip 9: Change it up
Boredom can quickly set in with any new routine, so combine a variety of exercises each day or alternate them throughout the week so working out doesn’t become a slog before you can reap the full range of benefits. Another thing to keep in mind: everyday activities like cleaning and walking outside to get the mail count as exercise too, giving you even more ways to vary your routine.
Tip 10: Remember that you won’t feel 100% all the time
Don’t be discouraged if you’re just “not feeling it” on a particular day, or for a few days in a row. Everyone who exercises, regardless of mobility, has off days. The key is recognizing that it happens, getting started again, and slowly building up your momentum.
Looking to get fit? Let PA Healthcare help!
If you want to increase your physical activity with the help of assistive mobility devices such as wheelchairs, walkers or rollators, PA Healthcare offers a wide range for sale or rent. We also offer delivery throughout San Diego and Imperial Counties, so give us a call today!