Regular physical activity is important at any age, but it can sometimes be a challenge for older people – especially those who have trouble walking, climbing stairs or lifting things.
Benefits of Exercise Without Full Mobility
“The good news – seniors don’t need to have full mobility to experience the many benefits of exercise.“ said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations director at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “Doing a few simple exercises every day can make it easier for seniors to bathe, dress, get into and out of a chair and move around the house or neighborhood. It can also help reduce the risk of falls.”
You don’t need expensive exercise equipment to get a good workout. Here are seven things you can do – even if you have limited mobility.
Work out in water to reduce pressure on your joints. It will also help you build strength, improve balance and maintain heart health.
Use groceries instead of weights for bicep curls, shoulder presses and bent-over rows (standing or seated). A gallon jug of milk, a bag of apples or a container of laundry detergent work great!
Incorporate resistance bands into exercises that will improve strength and balance such as seated rows, squats, chest press, bicep curls and pull-aparts.
Squeeze a tennis ball for 3-5 seconds to improve the grip strength needed to open jars and lift objects. Do this 10-15 times with each hand.
Use a chair with armrests to build upper body strength. Sit with your feel flat on the floor and slowly push yourself out of the chair using only your arms. Hold for one second and lower yourself back into the chair.
Sit with your back straight against a chair and raise one leg and stretch it to be as straight as possible and flex your foot – be careful not to lock your knee. Lower and repeat with the other leg.
Stretch your chest by sitting in a chair and extending your arms to your sides. Ease your arms back so that you feel your shoulder blades moving toward one another. When you get a good stretch, pause and hold for 10 seconds.
“At HCAN our professional caregivers encourage our clients to be as active as possible, because we know it will help them live independently for as long as possible,” Goetz said. “A little movement every day can make a big difference – even for those with limited mobility.”