The simple answer to the question above is, a big YES.

Do you know that people with limited mobility can, and should, exercise?  They have a right to exercise. We should not let disability, injury, illness or weight issues stop us from exercising.

In these special cases, exercise does not come in the form of a 5k run, or participating in a challenging event like Viper.

What happens when muscles are not used?

A condition when muscles waste away is called muscle atrophy. This is usually caused by a lack of physical activity. It is common in bed-ridden people and people with limited mobility.

A person may become bed-ridden after an injury or disease occurs. As such, the person may be unable to move his or her arms or legs well.

Over a period of time, the lack of regular mobility causes the unused muscles to shrink, i.e., muscle atrophy. An affected limb, e.g., hand or leg, will start to appear thinner than the normal limb.

Depending on the severity, muscle atrophy can be reversed in some cases with exercise or physical therapy.

Exercise offers health benefits

It is important to realize that any form of exercise will offer a multitude of health benefits. Remaining a couch potato and living with the fear that any form of exercise can worsen your mobility does not help matters.

A little imagination can go a long way

You do not need full mobility to get the health benefits of daily exercise. Moving parts of your body that can move, at least 30 minutes a day five times a week, can increase muscle tone, improve overall wellness and mood. Of course, there are many, many more benefits which we will list along the way.

A person with any medical issues should check with his or her doctor before doing any form of exercise. Doctors are the best people to consult on exactly what types of exercise can be safely done by people with limited mobility.

Our advice is that it is best to work with your doctor who knows your mobility constraints and a qualified personal trainer who can prepare an initial simple tailor-made program for you, safely see you perform the exercise, and progress you safely. Another option, depending on your mobility level, would be to consult your doctor and work with a physical therapist who will also draw up a safe program to work with you.

Breathing exercises

One exercise nearly everyone with limited mobility can do is simple breathing exercises. Those with respiratory issues would need the doctor’s clearance though.

Deep breathing is good as it helps the body to increase its lung capacity. Along with that, some other benefits are improved blood circulation a clearer head, and feeling energized.

Have proper support while exercising

People with limited mobility, especially frail seniors, are afraid of tripping over or falling. There are exercises that can be performed safely while sitting in a chair or holding on to a form of support.

As your balance and confidence improves, you may find you no longer need any form of support!

Cardiovascular exercises

These exercises raise your heartrate. They can also increase your endurance.  You can do some form of cardiovascular exercise, even if you are confined to a wheelchair.

Strength training exercises

These exercises can build up weak muscles and bone mass. For people with limited mobility, the chances of falling are higher. Strength training improves your balance, and reduces your chances of falling.

As an example, if you have a shoulder injury, your trainer can focus on strength training your core and your legs.

Another example would be focusing on your upper body strength, if you have limited leg mobility.

Flexibility exercises

These exercises improve your range of motion. They can also help prevent injury. Flexibility exercises can reduce pain and stiffness.

If you have limited mobility in your legs, you can stretch them with flexibility exercises to prevent muscle atrophy.

In conclusion: Overcoming barriers to exercise

Don’t keep focusing on what you can’t do, but focus instead on finding activities that you can do.

Use your imagination to experiment with new alternative moves. It is important to keep things simple at first.

Start off with low-risk activities, with warm-up and cool-down sessions to avoid muscle strains or other injuries.

Do not continue a particular exercise if you feel pain.

We hope this article encourages people with limited mobility to exercise, though this article is not to be taken as medical advice. Readers with limited mobility should consult their doctors and personal trainers or physical therapists before performing any exercise routines.

 

By Aaron

23rd October 2020 22:30

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