Even if you have limited mobility, the benefits of exercise can still be yours. And exercise may be even more important than ever. For example, people with arthritis or other joint-related diseases can use regular exercise to increase mobility, range of motion and flexibility to reduce pain. Or people with diabetes who also have neuropathy can benefit from regular physical activity to normalize blood sugar levels and keep blood circulating to the limbs.
Nearly everyone can benefit from some form of physical activity. The idea is to move in whatever way you can, while minimizing the risks of physical activity. Here are some general suggestions:
- Always first check with your doctor to learn how to be more physically active within your limitations. Find out which activities are safe for you. You may be referred to a physical therapist, who can teach you how to do specific exercises and stretches.
- Ask a spouse or friend to join you the next time you are physically active. It’s a good idea not to exercise alone for safety reasons. But having someone to talk to while you are active is also enjoyable and it can motivate you to keep up the good work.
- Be creative. Any activity that gets you moving for 10 minutes or more at a time and gets your heart rate up counts. Try stretching, lifting hand weights (or even household items like water bottles or cans of food), swimming, bicycling, rowing, yoga, walking or dancing, if you are able. Get a video that shows you how to do chair exercises if you are unable to stand or walk.
- Check with your health insurance provider and/or Medicare to see if you are eligible for specialized exercise equipment. They may cover the cost of devices that may help you become more active and fit again.