Many of us have physical limitations and simply accept them as part of our “new normal.” However, the truth is that all of us need regular exercise. Getting regular exercise should fit into our lifestyle – not everyone has the time or inclination to go to a gym. Our best course of action is to determine which exercises fit best with our physical capabilities – and stick with it! (Always remember to consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.)
There are some wonderful, simple ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily life. Perhaps you have noticed that the less you move around, the more sluggish you feel, and therefore you are motivated to bring some regular physical movements back into your life. If this is the case, why not try increasing your normal daily activities at a moderate rate. If you normally sit down and get up from a chair once an hour, try making it twice an hour for the first week, then make it four times an hour the second week, and so on. You will gradually begin to notice that your leg strength increases as well as your endurance.
A regular, brisk walking routine may be a good start. Walking is great exercise and even if the weather is inclement you can “house walk” to increase your strength. You should use this in conjunction with your sitting exercise. As before, the idea is to increase the amount of walking you do around the house. Always start off slow, using whatever device you need to steady yourself, and each week add a minute or two to your walking.
You might be unable to walk, but everyone may exercise to increase their strength and endurance. Consider trying the following: while sitting in a straight-backed chair, raise your right foot off the floor and move it in a rotational manner until you begin to feel the muscles on the top of your thigh or elsewhere tighten in your body. Lower your right foot and repeat the exercise with your left leg. While seated, keep your arms straight at the elbows; raise your arms straight over your head, then lower. Repeat as many times as you can without becoming too tired. If confined to bed, try arm and leg lift exercises.
The idea is to keep our bodies active and our muscles toned. As with any new or increased physical activity, if you get overly tired or something starts hurting and the pain does not immediately go away, stop for the day. If the pain persists, check with your physician.