Hello, I am a disabled lady of 61yrs and have great mobility problems therefore am unable to do much walking. As I have other problems I find it really hard to get much exercise due to my joints and hip problems. Can you suggest anything at all to help me? I am quite limited to what I can do. I would appreciate any help and advice that you may be able to give. Thank you so much, Sincerely, A Rees
Without knowing your exact disability and range of movement that you can perform it’s hard to give you very specific advice, but I hope the following ideas help. There are still many types of exercises that you can complete to aid and improve your fitness levels while sitting down. The exercises listed are all performed using a ‘resistance band’. You can purchase one of these bands from a physiotherapist or most supermarkets stock them in their fitness sections (they only cost a few pounds). They are a piece of stretchy rubber band that is designed to withhold quite a heavy level of resistance when stretched. They often come in different colours and each colour represents a slightly different resistance level.
Resistance bands are an alternative to lifting weights and will help improve your strength, tone and joint stability. For each exercise make sure you draw your tummy muscles in as you do this exercise to protect the lower back.
Here are some ideas that you could try:
1. BICEP CURLS:
Tuck the centre of the band under your feet or something heavy (maybe the wheels of the wheelchair or feet of a chair). Hold one end of the band in one hand, and the other end in the other hand. Start with your arms straight by your sides. Lock your elbows at your sides (to stop them from moving in and out as you perform the exercise) and curl your forearm upwards towards your shoulder and slowly back down again.
2. CALF RAISES:
While in a seated position, lift up onto your toes as high as your range of motion will allow you and then bring your heels back down to the floor. Make sure the whole movement takes at least 4 seconds to complete, i.e. don't go too fast! This exercise works the back of the lower leg and helps prevent tissue retention around the ankles.
3. SHOULDER PRESS
This time lock the centre of the band in a similar fashion to the first exercise and hold the ends of the bands again. Bring both arms up so that your elbows are at 90 degrees at the sides of your body and the upper arm is horizontal to the floor. This is your starting position. Slowly extend both arms as you push the bands upwards above your head (your elbows will end up next to your ears), then bring them back to the start position again. This exercise tones the shoulder area and back of the upper arm as well as aiding upper body circulation.
4. CHEST FLYS
For this one you will need to loop the band around something secure (ie, a stair post) so that the band is behind you. While seated or standing, hold each end of the band with your arms extended at your sides and parallel to the floor (ie in a crucifix position). Keeping your arms straight and parallel to the floor throughout the entire exercise, slowly bring your arms forwards so that they are straight out in front of your body, then back to the start again. Be careful not to lean forward to assist the arms, make sure your chest and arms do the work by keeping your body as still as possible throughout. This exercise works your chest muscles.
5. SEATED ROW
This is basically an opposite exercise to the chest flys above. Keep the band looped round the secure post but turn yourself around so that you are facing the band and post. Starting with your arms extended out in front of you and parallel to the floor), slowly pull the band towards you as you bend your elbows just behind your body. Be careful to keep your upper body still and not lean forward. The end position should see that the hands up on each side of your chest. Then back to the start again. This works your upper back muscles and will really help maintain a nice upright posture.
You could combine the above in a circuit fashion to provide a mini-workout that will get the circulation and heart going, burn calories and give your metabolic rate a boost, helping you to stay alert too! Aim to complete each exercise 3 times for 15-20 repetitions. Alternatively you could do them one at a time with about 30 seconds rest between sets.
Hope this helps,
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