August 14, 2023
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Fitness for People with Limited Mobility

Fitness is not just for people with full mobility, those with limited mobility due to illnesses, injury and weight problems can also take help of fitness exercises to improve their overall health.


Exercises are known to reduce stress, improve self esteem, relieve anxiety and make a person feel better.

People with mobility issues do face many challenges in life but there are many exercise routines which you can perform despite the physical limitations and improve your fitness levels. In the following sections let us look at different aspects of developing fitness despite of having limited mobility.

  • Exercises and Limited Mobility
  • Types of Exercises for People with Limited Mobility
  • How to Prepare for the Exercises?
  • Starting Exercises and Involved Steps
  • Staying Safe
  • Overcoming Barriers
Exercises and Limited Mobility
It is a known fact that when we exercise, endorphins are released which have the effect of improving our mood, set off a feeling of well being and perk up our self esteem. Exercises have a very positive effect on your mood and can easily treat moderate amount of depression quite effectively as any antidepressant medication would do.

If you used to exercise on regular basis but currently not able to do so due to any injury then the slump in energy levels as well as mood will be quite clear for you. However, injury should not mean there is no hope for you and your emotional as well as mental health are bound to go down. After most injuries it is necessary to re-assess the exercise routine you have by consulting a physical therapist and move ahead accordingly.

In case of weight problems, diabetes, disability, breathing problems and other illnesses people may start thinking that it will not be possible for them to exercise. Similarly, seniors may be concerned about inflicting injuries or falling down while exercising. But on the contrary, there are different methods for overcoming mobility issues and start exercising, regardless of whether you have exercised before or not, the physical condition you are in and your age.

Exercises for People having Limited Mobility

Even if you have mobility issues, doing the right type of exercises will help you achieve several health benefits. Let us now go through various exercises that should be part of your exercise routine.

  1. Cardiovascular Exercises: The benefit of these exercises is that they improve your endurance levels and increase your heart rate. Some examples of cardiovascular exercises are cycling, running, swimming, aqua-jogging and walking. Those with mobility issues get more benefit from doing exercises in water since it supports their body as well as lowers chances of joint or muscle discomfort.
  2. Strength Training: These exercises help to build bone mass and muscles in addition to improving balance and avert falls. In case there is limited mobility in the legs then your aim should be strength training for the upper body while if injury or problem is in upper part of the body then you should opt for exercises of abs and legs.
  3. Exercises for Flexibility: The usefulness of these exercises is that they improve the range of motions you have, lower pain, reduce stiffness and help you avoid injuries. You will get benefit out of stretching exercises even if you are suffering from limited mobility in the legs as these exercises will delay or thwart muscle atrophy.
How to prepare for the exercises?

First thing you will have to do is talk with your physical therapist or doctor about the right exercises for your particular situation. Some of the things you should ask include:

  • Amount of exercise you should do on daily as well as weekly basis.
  • The kind of exercises which will be good for you.
  • Type of exercises which are to be avoided.
  • Will it be necessary to take medication while doing exercise routines?
Starting Exercises and the Steps Involved

Step #1 - Start Slowly: The first step would be to start slowly and then increase the rate of exercises. You need to select activities which you will be able to enjoy, set goals which are achievable and also exercise as per your comfort levels. If you are able to reach the very smallest of your fitness goals then it will result in improved body confidence and also let you stay motivated.

Step #2 - Change Exercises into Daily Work: Maintain a proper schedule and exercise everyday at one fixed time. Additionally, mix different exercises to prevent boredom from creeping into your exercise sessions.

Step #3 - Exercise Regularly: Normally it takes some time for getting habituated to any exercise routine. So you will have to continue with your exercise routine to reap the benefits. Additionally, clearly define the goals you want to achieve by exercising and stick them at some place where you will be able to see it every day. Another important thing would be to focus on short term goals, as for example, reducing stress levels or improving mood instead of long term goals like weight loss, as it can take much more time to accomplish.

Step #4 – Stay Motivated: If you enjoy doing something then it becomes a lot easier to remain motivated and the same is true for exercises as well. Thus you should aim to make your exercise sessions a lot more fun. In this regard you can do things like watch TV or listen to your favorite music while exercising and you can also exercise in company of your friends.

Step #5 – Loss of Momentum: Many times it may happen that you are not able to exercise for a few days at a stretch but that should not discourage you.  After re-starting you should try to re-build the momentum that has been lost.

Starting Exercises and Staying Safe

  1. First of all you will have to make sure that you do not continue exercising if pain starts in any part of the body, there is dizziness, you feel discomfort or experience chest pain, the heartbeat becomes irregular or there is shortness of breath. You will be able to avoid injuries by responding to signals your body sends if there are any problems.
  2. Second thing will be to avoid straining any body part which is already injured. As for example if there is a injury in the upper part of the body then do exercises which involve the lower part of the body till the time injury heals. Even after the injury heals, you will have to start slowly, use less resistance and lighter weights.
  3. Next thing you will have to keep note of will be of doing proper warm ups for few minutes before exercises like shoulder rolls, walking or arm swings and light amount of stretching. Similarly, after workout session is over, be it strength training, cardiovascular or flexibility routines, you need to do light exercises as part of the cool down process.
  4. Lastly you need to make sure that the body is properly hydrated to achieve the best performance by drinking enough water before, during and after exercise sessions. In addition to it, wear clothing which is comfortable as well as does not hinder your movements while exercising.