If your loved one has pain or mobility issues and can't exercise, their weight goes up, and mobility problems worsen. It's a vicious cycle. Fortunately, there are a lot of exercises for limited mobility out there. Here are seven of the best.
Water aerobics allow for full-body movement without joint strain and are especially beneficial for people with arthritis. They are a great mood booster, and local classes can be a good motivator to get out and socialize. Look for community center classes geared towards older adults.
Seated exercises can be done in a wheelchair with the brakes on or a regular chair. These are ideal for people who have limited or no use of their legs. Lightweight resistance bands can be wrapped under the chair to allow for chest presses, bicep curls, and more. Air punching is also good seated exercise that can be done with or without weights.
Want a workout that's fun for the whole family? Get out the video games — with the motion controllers, that is. Wii or Xbox Kinect game can be a great exercise for seniors — and the grandkids might well want to join in, too. There are a variety of options with varying levels of difficulty.
Roller Chair Workout
Use a wheelchair or an office chair with wheels or casters and find a space with no carpet. The goal is simple - use your weight to move the chair around as much as possible. Start by having your loved one move their chair for one minute, and try for longer times as they get stronger. Have fun with it! Play music to turn it into a dance routine.
An upper body ergometer is a stationary bike — except you use your arms, not your legs, to pedal. Ergometers provide excellent cardio for those who have lower body arthritis pain, swelling, or limited leg mobility.
For those who can stand but have a high risk of falling, exercises that improve balance can help prevent injury. One simple exercise is standing on one foot (use a chair or walker for balance) for ten seconds on each side. Side leg raises are excellent, too — stand behind a chair or walker for support and lift a leg out to the side, repeating 10 to 15 times on each leg.
Yoga is excellent for people of all ages. Aside from physical benefits, yoga also promotes mindfulness. There are specialty yoga videos available for seniors and individuals with specific mobility issues - including seated yoga.
Limited mobility should never be a reason not to exercise and stay healthy. Use these ideas to help your loved one sit, stand, swim, or pedal and get fit!
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