Stay Active, No Matter What: Exercise Options for Those with Limited Mobility

Physical activity is essential for maintaining good health, but for people with limited mobility, it can be challenging to find suitable exercise options. However, having limited mobility doesn’t mean you can’t stay active. There are plenty of exercises and activities that are accessible and can help you stay physically active, regardless of your mobility level. Let’s explore some options for improving your joint mobility and having fun along the way.

Seated exercises

Seated exercises are ideal for people who are unable to stand or walk for extended periods. These exercises can be done from a chair and are designed to improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Examples of seated exercises include:

  • Seated leg raises: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise one leg and hold it in the air for a few seconds before lowering it. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Seated march: Sit in a chair and march your feet up and down, as if you were marching in place.
  • Seated twists: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Twist your torso to the right and hold for a few seconds before twisting to the left.

Exercise for Seniors

Water exercises

Water exercises are a great option for people with limited mobility. Water provides resistance, which can help build strength and improve cardiovascular health. Additionally, the buoyancy of the water can reduce the impact on joints, making it a low-impact exercise option. Examples of water exercises include:

  • Water walking: Walk in waist-deep water, lifting your knees as high as you can.
  • Water aerobics: Join a water aerobics class, which typically includes a range of exercises, such as jumping jacks, leg lifts, and arm circles.

Chair yoga

Yoga is an excellent way to improve flexibility and balance, but traditional yoga poses can be difficult for people with limited mobility. Chair yoga is a modified form of yoga that can be done from a seated position and is a terrific way to improve hip, elbow, and other joint mobility and increase balance. Examples of chair yoga poses include:

  • Seated forward fold: Sit in a chair and fold forward, reaching for your toes or as far down as you can comfortably go.
  • Seated spinal twist: Sit in a chair and twist your torso to the right, placing your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on the back of the chair. Hold for a few breaths before twisting to the left.
  • Seated Cat/Cow: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on your knees. As you inhale, arch your back and lift your head. As you exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin to your chest.
  • Seated Pigeon: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Cross your right ankle over your left knee. Flex your right foot and gently press your right knee away from your body. Hold for a few breaths before switching sides.
  • Seated Mountain Pose: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Press your feet into the ground and sit up tall. Bring your hands to your heart center and take a few deep breaths.

Exercise for Seniors

Resistance band exercises

Resistance bands are versatile exercise tools that can be used to build strength and improve flexibility. They come in various strengths, so you can choose the one that’s right for your fitness level. Examples of resistance band exercises include:

  • Seated rows: Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Loop the resistance band around your feet and hold the ends in your hands. Pull the band toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Leg press: Sit in a chair and loop the resistance band around your feet. Push your feet forward, straightening your legs as much as you can.
  • Chest press: Attach the resistance band to a secure anchor point behind you. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hold the band ends in your hands, palms facing down. Push the band forward until your arms are straight in front of you, and then slowly release back to the starting position.

Adaptive sports

Adaptive sports are modified sports that are designed for people with disabilities. These sports can help improve strength, endurance, and coordination, while also providing a social outlet. Examples of adaptive sports include:

  • Wheelchair basketball: Players use wheelchairs to play basketball, with modified rules to accommodate the use of wheelchairs.
  • Boccia: A precision ball sport similar to bocce, played from a seated position.

Regardless of your mobility level, there are plenty of exercise options available. Start with low-impact exercises, such as seated exercises, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. Always listen to your body and stop exercising if you experience pain or discomfort.

Exercise for Seniors

The Morningside House Connection 

At Morningside House, we understand how important physical activity is both for our residents’ health and for their mental and emotional wellness. That’s why we offer and encourage numerous ways for the seniors in our care to get moving. From social dances and exercise classes to walking clubs and outings about town, there are always ways for Morningside House guests to exercise their bodies and enrich their lives.  Book a tour today to experience Morningside House for yourself.

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