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Staying Fit Despite Limited Mobility

Posted on September 25th, 2015

Even with limited mobility, you can still be active and stay fit while enjoying a variety of exercise options. Regular physical activity offers numerous health benefits plus it can be fun and even social. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), "Being physically active can also help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you like to do as you get older."

Important: Always check with your doctor(s) before beginning any new exercise program or activity. It's important to discuss any changes you want to make in your physical routine to ensure it won't compromise your health and well-being.

Water Aerobics

Water aerobics or aquatic exercise is a great cardio workout that doesn't place stress on your bones or joints like the knees. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting with water walking. This aquatic exercise is performed in waist-high water. Simply walk across the width of the pool and swing your arms as you would when walking on dry ground. Stand straight, keeping your abdominal muscles tight and don't walk on tiptoes.

Many community pools and YMCA's offer water aerobics classes for seniors and may even offer private classes for people who are physically disabled.

Strength Training Exercises

A physical therapist or personal trainer can help determine which strength training exercises best fit your needs and physical capabilities. Certain strength training exercises may be more beneficial than others for certain conditions. For example, strength training exercises that focus on the chest and abdomen may be a priority for someone suffering from COPD, while other exercises can be done to help fight osteoporosis.

While some strength exercises are performed with hand weights or resistance bands others need no equipment. There are many that can be done sitting, including exercises to strengthen the arms, shoulders, legs and upper body. The overhead elbow extension can be done sitting and helps strengthen the muscles used when reaching overhead to take a dish from the cabinet or retrieve something from a closet shelf.

Flexibility and Balance

Improving flexibility and balance can help seniors and anyone with limited mobility reduce their risk for falls. From yoga to Tai Chi and basic stretching exercises, increasing flexibility balance can be just a few moves away. NIH Senior Health recommends exercises like the neck stretch to increase flexibility and it can be done sitting or standing. To perform this exercise:

  • Keep your feet flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart
  • Slowly turn your head to the right until a slight stretch is felt
  • Hold the stretch for a count of 20
  • Return to looking forward
  • Slowly turn your head to the left until you feel the stretch
  • Hold the stretch for a count of 20
  • Repeat the cycle 5 times

For other easy and effective stretching exercises, check out NIH Senior Health for step-by-step instructions and how-to pictures.

After engaging in any form of exercise, soothe muscles and rejuvenate with a soak in a hydrotherapy soaking tub. Deep bathtubs that can offer hydrotherapy benefits are ideal for stress and pain relief. Hydrotherapy is a natural pain relief and a perfect venue for relaxation after a great workout.

Important: Always consult a physician or qualified medical professional before undertaking in any exercise program.

Blog Image Source: warringah.nsw.gov.au

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