If you are getting older and have trouble moving around the way you once could, don’t be discouraged or feel like you can no longer keep yourself in relatively good shape. In fact, not only are there ways for you to exercise with limited mobility, but there are also health benefits! Read on to find out how.
Getting Loose – Don’t Forget To Stretch!
Before we dive into the different ways to exercise and get your blood flowing, it is important to remember to stretch first. Stretching allows you to stay limber and loosen up the muscles to prevent pulls and increase flexibility as well as joint health. Stretching can also be a source of relaxation and stress relief so be sure not to skip this step.
Just Because You’re Sitting Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Move
You may think that being forced to spend most of your time in a chair means that you can no longer exercise, but this is not the case. According to the NIH, lack of exercise for the elderly can be risky as it can lead to more visits to doctors and hospitals. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of movement can keep our blood from circulating the way it needs to keep our heart and body healthy. Here are a few examples of exercises you can do right from your chair to get you moving:
- Seated Row
- Arm Circles
- Toe Taps
- Knee Lifts
- Shoulder Rolls
To perform a seated row, you may choose to use a resistance band, but it is not entirely necessary. If you are using a resistance band, you want to place both feet over the center of the band while sitting up straight. You will then criss-cross the band and hold it near the ends with each hand and pull back slowly with your elbows close to your sides and exhale as you do this. Breathe in as you release back to the starting position. Without a band, you can still simulate these movements and repeat as desired.
Arm circles are simple and can strengthen your shoulders. You may choose to hold a ball while you do these, but you can also do them without one. To perform these, you can either place your arms out in front of you or to your sides with your elbows slightly bent and will rotate them in a circular motion 20-30 times. You can repeat this two to three times depending on how you feel and can also use light weights if you would like something more challenging.
Toe taps are self-explanatory. To do these, you will just place your heels on the floor in front of you from a seated position. Then you will point your toes up towards the ceiling and back to the ground. For a greater range of motion, you can also point your toes to the floor and lift your heels off the ground. Repeat 8-10 times or as desired.
Knee lifts are good for the quad muscles which are vital in helping us stand, sit, and change positions. To execute knee lifts from a sitting position, you will raise your right leg up towards the chest as far as you can without discomfort and place it back down. Alternate legs and perform eight to 10 repetitions on each side.
Shoulder rolls are as they sound. Sitting straight in your chair with your arms close to your sides, shrug your shoulders upwards and rotate them in a circular motion. You can alternate moving them forwards and backward. Shoulder rolls are good for strengthening the shoulders and the traps.
Getting Regular Exercise is Beneficial
There are many ways in which getting regular exercise can benefit you in your older age. According to the American Heart Association, regular exercise can help prevent bone loss as well as many other diseases associated with aging. It can improve strength and balance and can reduce the risk of death in those saddled with high blood pressure. Regardless of your physical condition, physical activity can always have a positive impact.
Create a Routine and Stick With It
The best way to get regular exercise is to figure out what works best for you and decide on a schedule. Dedicate a block of time each day to get your heart pumping and your muscles moving. The NIA claims that seniors are more likely to remain active if they believe they will benefit from it, enjoy their activities and feel they are safe while doing them.
Set Your Goals
Accomplishing the targets you set can be done in a multitude of ways, and it can also be your prime source of motivation. You’ll want to set both short-term goals and long-term goals. If you haven’t had much exercise recently, perhaps your short-term goal will simply be to get started and complete a few exercises each day or even every other day.
Long-term goals can be anything ranging from gradually working up to more challenging exercises or wanting to be able to have a catch with a grandchild. Whatever your goals may be, write them down and follow through!
Start Slow and Don’t Get Discouraged
Remember that as our bodies age; we aren’t as well conditioned and physically capable as we once were. You may be eager to get started, but you should always start with something you know you can handle and work your way up. The NIA recommends speaking with your doctor before beginning a more vigorous regimen or ramping up your physical activity. Do what feels comfortable and if you ever feel like you’re overexerting yourself, it’s ok to slow down.
Being limited in what you can do doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a healthy, active life. Getting regular exercise will keep you feeling great and motivated each day.