How Individuals With Limited Mobility Can Stay Active and Healthy
Being active is a crucial part of living a healthy lifestyle, but unfortunately, some people are not physically able to be active or as active as they’d like to be, causing many people to live a sedentary lifestyle.
The Importance of Being Active
When you’re active, you burn more calories, increase your blood circulation, and you regulate your metabolism. However, not everyone is in an appropriate physical condition to be extremely active.
Individuals with limited mobility are at risk for becoming sedentary, or inactive. Limited mobility can refer to those who are wheelchair-bound, those significantly overweight, or those with fragile bones.
Consequences of Being Inactive
Inactivity can lead to a variety of health problems:
- You could potentially lose muscle mass and bone density, leading to osteoporosis.
- The risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke are increased due to poor blood circulation.
- A sedentary lifestyle is often associated with poor eating habits. When combined with inactivity, the risks for obesity and diabetes are increased.
This is extremely disheartening for those with limited mobility because a significant amount of movement is likely to be physically impossible.
Other Potential Risks
Not only are the physically disabled at risk for the above, but they are also more prone to pressure ulcers, or bedsores, due to being unable to move. This injury is one of the leading causes of death in nursing homes.
If being active is physically impossible, there are other ways to stay healthy and prevent bedsores. Proper hydration and nutrition can prevent the breakdown of skin, which ultimately leads to bedsores.
Ways to Stay Active With Limited Mobility
For individuals in wheelchairs or those who can’t stand for long periods of time, chair exercises are just as effective for staying active.
Yoga is probably one of the most popular ways you can increase your strength and flexibility. While most minds may immediately go to tree-pose or downward-facing dog when thinking of yoga poses, there are actually many seated yoga poses that are effective for those with limited mobility.
Many people believe that yoga is the same as pilates. While yoga focuses on both flexibility and core strength, the emphasis is on flexibility. Pilates focuses on core and muscle strength.
There is an emphasis on core strength (which may be hard to do with limited mobility), but you can focus on building muscles in your upper body. The only downside is that you’re not likely to see the same results as a bodybuilder— but every little bit helps to stay active!
While several pilates arm workouts are done standing, many can be modified and be done while seated.
Yes, cardio! Cardiovascular exercises are exercises that increase your heart rate— and sometimes that does require running or jumping. Adding weights to your arms exercises can help increase your heart rate.
Pool exercises are also beneficial to those with limited mobility. Being in water takes the pressure off your joints and bones, so it may be a little easier to work the legs. However, don’t try this if you have no mobility in your legs.
Is that really a thing? Well, some workouts actually can be done on a bed, but still require some movement of all limbs. An easy exercise/stretch that those with limited mobility can do is roll-ups. Lying on your back, going from a lying position to a seated one, you hold your arms over your head while slowly lifting up. This exercise helps with core strength.
Being active isn’t just for those with full mobility, and while exercise is an important part of being healthy and maintaining a healthy weight, so is nutrition. Everyone can benefit from healthy eating habits as well. A nutritious diet is linked to decreasing certain health risks caused by inactivity. Combining the two can lead to a healthy and active life.