Not exercising because of mobility limitations? Experts offer tips to increase physical activity

Not exercising because of mobility limitations? Experts offer tips to increase physical activityAs much as we would like to say, “Oh, exercise is something I just can’t do,” that’s probably not true when you really think about it. And you have to admit that physical activity really is an important part of weight loss.

Whatever your current level of activity, you can start where you are and increase your activity slowly, steadily, and safely. Just be sure to move more than you move now.

Here are a few suggestions that the GoWoman research team has come up with to help you get started.

Talk to your medical professional

You know your body better than anyone, but your medical professional may be able to give you advice on what types of activity are best for you and how much to do.

Keep it simple

You don’t have to go to the gym or a fitness center to increase your activity level. You just need to be more active.

You can increase your physical activity by making small changes in your daily routines and using household items to help you exercise. Little things can make a difference. Things as simple as:

  • Increasing the time you spend walking or wheeling around the neighborhood
  • Parking farther from the store
  • Exercising during your favorite TV show
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, if you are able

If your mobility is severely limited and you use a power chair, look around you for things you can do to increase your heart rate. Things like swaying to music, singing out loud, and rolling over bumpy terrain can help you burn more calories.

You don’t have to buy expensive equipment. Get creative and use what you already have at home:

  • A table or counter is ideal for push-ups on an incline
  • A wall can be used for wall sits
  • A 16-ounce water bottle makes a nice one-pound hand weight
  • Although arm cycling is great, arm cycling without the cycle works, too… as do air punches to your favorite music.
  • If you don’t have a resistance band, use a towel or a scarf.

Go slowly

You don’t need to be in a race or compete with anyone except yourself. If you are starting from a very inactive, sedentary lifestyle, you will feel best if you set your weekly physical activity goal at an easy level. Each week you can make it a little more challenging.

Look for opportunities in your community

If getting out of the house more is part of your plan and you live in a city, check out the website for your city’s Department of Recreation. Ask around, look around, and search the web for information about activities you could join or places you could go to have fun while being more active.

Grab a partner

When you find a form of physical activity that matches your personality and lifestyle, you will get even more benefits if you do it with family members or friends. You may find that exploring new activities opens up opportunities to make new friends.

Many women with disabilities report that feeling isolated and lonely are major problems for them. If you find ways to exercise with others, you may find yourself losing weight while increasing your social network and quality of life.

Additional Resources

What’s the scoop on food allergies, weight gain, and disabilities?

Starvation dieting is going too far, especially if you have a disability

Online program aims to aid in weight loss for women with physical limitations

-By the GoWoman research team

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