It's no secret that exercise is a critical part of ongoing health. The right levels of movement can stave off some medical concerns and help treat others. And while aerobics or weight training aren't a magical answer to all that ails you, staying active can help improve your quality of life as you age. At the very least, a use-it-or-lose-it effect does apply to various parts of your body, and exercise helps you avoid losing muscle or functionality unnecessarily.
And seniors that have already lost some mobility due to age, illness or a recent injury or procedure can help protect the movement they have or gain back lost functionality with appropriate exercise.
You should definitely inquire about changes in exercise routines with your medical provider before you start. But once your doctor okays light activity, there's plenty you can do around the ViewPointe assisted living community to get your blood pumping. Plus, on-site therapies, wellness services and activity programs all combine to help keep willing seniors active.
Check out some of these potential exercises you can perform with limited mobility once you get the all clear from your medical provider.
Walking is one of the safest, easiest ways people of all ages can increase their heart rate and put their body in motion. Even those with limited mobility may be able to make it up and down their assisted living community hallway or through outdoor gardens once a day with the help of a friend or mobility devices such as walkers or canes. Remember that it's not about how fast you go; any movement is better than none, and you always want to consider your overall safety.
For those who have a hard time walking long distances, air punching might be an option. Imagine something in front of you (or invest in a hanging or standing bag that you can lightly punch with gloves on). Punch the air (or bag) vigorously for 1 to 3 minutes, then rest a minute. Repeat several times to get your heart rate up for 10 to 20 minutes.
You definitely want to clear punching with your doctor or PT to ensure you don't hurt your arms, wrists or other areas of your upper body. But if it's right for you, this exercise lets you benefit from cardio even when you're seated.
Building and maintaining muscles is also important. Even seniors with limited mobility can typically put their muscles to work while sitting in a chair or laying on the floor or bed. Engage in sets of lifts and curls, such as holding your arms in a relaxed position at your side with your palms facing forward. Bring your hand slowly up toward the ceiling, making a 90-degree angle with your elbow. Repeat the movement 8 to 10 times for a set. Repeat the set 1 to 3 times with a short rest in between.
Consider investing in a set of small hand weights or ankle weights or using items such as books during these exercises. By adding a little weight, you can continue to strengthen muscles. If you're not sure how to perform these types of exercises safely and effectively, talk to the ViewPointe staff about classes or fitness services where you can learn.
Finally, the range with which you can move your body is also important. If you find yourself limited in how you can move your arms or legs, ask about occupational or physical therapy services to learn exercises to improve and protect range of motion.