Having limited mobility doesn’t cancel out the option for exercise as much as we do. Either our mobility is temporary because of injuries, illness, surgeries and all that, or it is a disability we live with. But no one talks about the real crutch preventing us from exploring how much we can exercise – our motivation. Limited mobility can make us quite demotivated to even start; and that first step becomes the hardest sometimes.
The first step to keeping fit and active then becomes deciding you want to be fit and active; that you want to do what you can, to exercise. Sometimes you got to fake it till you make it. Feed your mind how good it would be to exercise and how great your body would feel doing it; till you’re ready to make that first move. Sometimes making that first move can mean finding someone to exercise with you, even if it’s different kinds of exercises. Company can be a strong tool in pushing through.
Why keep fit and active?
Here’s why it’s time to turn back these tables in your favour and make the choice to keep fit and active. The more energy you give, the more you seem to have. Even with limited mobility, small forms of exercise can increase your range of motion, increase blood flow, strengthen your muscles, ease tension in your joints, improve co-ordination, reduce cholesterol, improve heart rate and the list goes on and on. That’s just physical examples.
Staying active also releases endorphins through your body, making your mood better, reducing your stress, improving how you feel and promoting a better sense of well being.
What can I do with limited mobility?
Quite a wonder how a tasteless element can bring so much taste into our lives. Being in water gives us twelve times the resistance, as compared to moving through air. This means water can support our body weight much greater and make it easier for us to move. Swimming, water aerobics or just simple walking through water can be quite relaxing and improve balance. Warm or hot water also has the capability of soothing pain in the body.
We’re talking Zumba for the seated. Chair aerobics help you use high energy dance moves, while being seated. This exercise dance can help build strength, increase heart rate, burn calories and is quite fun to do. The trick is to start small and challenge yourself with different kinds of seated workouts.
An in-place exercise bike can help you work your legs, arms, or both depending on your mobility. Nowadays, you can even get the pedals, without the bike if you don’t want to clutter your house. Who says pedals are just for feet. The arm bikes or Upper Body Ergometers allow you to work-out your arms the same way you’d use your feet.
You can now row, row, row your boat out of water with rowing machines. Rowing
requires wider movements compared to a bike and a greater work out. Not to mention how good it feels sometimes to sit in a boat, even if it’s on land.
Resistance bands and dumbbells
Light resistance bands are easy to store, easy to travel with and come in handy when trying to work with little weight. What you can do with these and little dumbbells: shoulder presses, chest presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, stretches – you name it.
Chair Yoga, Tai-Chi or stretching
In Chair Yoga, Tai-Chi or stretching exercises can improve flexibility, reduce pressure in your bones and muscles, reduce pain that comes with sitting for long periods and help get the blood flow back in your system. They help build focus and improve your range of motion. The best part of doing chair Yoga or Tai-chi is that the movements are decided according to your ability.
It is an important reminder to go easy on yourself. There are days you might feel like you can’t move, or don’t want to. There are days you might feel disappointed because you couldn’t get yourself to do those active movements or where you simply didn’t feel like dancing. There are some days where you just couldn’t find the time to do them. That’s perfectly alright.
This is very normal when starting something new. It’s never too late, and there’s always tomorrow even if you couldn’t do any of it. The only pressure is the one coming from you. At the same time, as much as we can be our own worst enemy; a little pressure can go a long way. That pressure is also the reason we did not give up long ago and will not give up now.
Remember not to compare yourself with anyone else’s mobility, body or abilities. No one else has your mobility, so you’ve got a world to explore what being ‘active’ means for you. For some, being active involves squeezing a yellow exercise ball to keep the blood going on through your fingers. Others find keeping active in cooking a meal that’s got a long process. You invent the ways of your own mobility.
Why you may see changes to what you eat as you try to keep more fit?
Change goes a long way. Making a change in one area of your life usually feeds into the others. Implementing this new lifestyle of being fit and active into your system, can demand a different diet to keep up with it.
People have gone from eating double initially to losing their appetite for certain foods completely, just with this change in life-style. This is because your mind may have chosen to be fit and active, but your body hasn’t quite caught up with it yet.
Pay attention to your body and how it’s feeling. Make sure you have enough nutrients and energy to do the things you’re setting out to do, because they will require more of your energy, focus and time. The right foods can help stimulate the right fitness.
Whatever the mobility, whatever the state, whatever the posture, there are always ways to help keep active and they’re waiting for you. Cosy Home and Community Care wants to help you access these ways.