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4 Fun Ideas For Staying Fit If You Have Limited Mobility

Whether you have limited mobility due to a disability, chronic pain, illness or age, staying fit can have a whole host of benefits for body and mind. It’s a great way to relieve stress, ease depression and boost feelings of positivity. According to the NHS, all adults between the ages of 19 and 64, regardless of whether you are in a wheelchair or have full mobility, should be doing at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity and two days of strength training per week.

While having limited mobility may mean you have to overcome some physical limitations, the benefits of exercising are far reaching. Being active not only gives you a dose of feel-good endorphins that lift your mood, but protects you against health problems associated with a more sedentary lifestyle, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.

Explore our fun ideas for staying fit when you have limited mobility…

Swimming

Type of workout: Whole body

Good for: Strength, stamina and cardiovascular health

Swimming is ideal for the elderly or those with limited mobility as it helps to tone muscles and build stamina, all while being gentle on your body. This peaceful form of exercise is low impact, making it perfect if you suffer from discomfort in your hips, spine or knees. It also improves your cardiovascular health, as it strengthens your heart and lungs, whilst also correcting your posture and improving your coordination. It’s the ultimate full body workout!

Depending on your level of mobility, consider using floats to assist you in the pool. If it’s your first dip in a while, start slow and build up your lengths, or try holding on to the edge of the pool and treading water. As you improve, an aqua yoga or water aerobics class can be a good way to stay motivated and meet new people.

If you have little mobility, a number of public pools now provide lifts for disabled access, as well as wheelchair-friendly changing rooms. This form of exercise can offer a sense of freedom and feel very therapeutic, but also is a good way to get fit without risking injury.

Chair Aerobics

Type of workout: Upper body

Good for: Calorie burning and strengthening

If you use a wheelchair or have trouble getting up and out, chair aerobics is an excellent way to get active (and can be done whilst watching your favourite programme!). Raise your heart rate, build strength and loosen stiff joints by performing a sequence of simply exercises all from your chair.

From abdominal-toning bicycles to kicks and air punches, start with just 10 minutes of exercise and build up the time gradually. Resistance bands and hand weights can also help you break more of a sweat and strengthen muscles. The British Heart Foundation has a series of chair-based exercises from Professor Patrick Doherty, Chair in Cardiovascular Health at the University of York, that can be used for inspiration.

Tai Chi

Type of workout: Whole body

Good for: Flexibility and mental clarity

Attending a Tai Chi class is a great way to meet new people and improve your flexibility.

Harvard Health reported that the practice can help maintain strength, flexibility and balance and can be adapted to suit a variety of mobility levels; from those recovering from surgery to wheelchair users. Similarly, the NHS points out that while further research is needed, studies have so far shown that it can help people aged 65 and over to improve their posture and general mobility.

An ancient practice that dates back to the 13th century, Tai Chi uses slow, often circular motions, that improves balance, eases anxiety and promotes energy flow. To take part, why not order an exercise DVD or find a local class?

Dancing

Type of workout: Whole body

Good for: Physical fitness and boosting your mood

If you’ve been inspired by the waltzes, sambas and paso dobles on Strictly Come Dancing, it’s your turn to hit the music and get moving. Dancing is a great way to burn calories, strengthen muscle tone and boost your confidence. It can also be extremely expressive and creative, giving you an outlet to release your frustrations and feelings.

We all know how emotive particular songs are, so why not play something that reminds you of a happy time? No matter your level of mobility, dancing is an adaptable art that can be enjoyed by most. Whether you choose to do it alone in your living room or opt to join a local class, dancing is one way to help stay fit and feel more relaxed, happy and centred.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our four ideas for exercising with limited mobility. Before undertaking any physical activity, check with your doctor or physical therapist about whether it is suitable for you.

Read more of our articles on maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle at Welbeing.

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