I met a woman in Oceanside, CA that was an inspiration. She had severe medical issues that kept her immobile for months. Unfortunately, she didn’t receive the best care in her rehabilitation facility that caused her to be bedridden even longer. When the family finally insisted something be done, they were told she would never walk again, since the damage was too severe and she was too old. She suffered muscle atrophy and foot drop from lack of therapy or foot braces. When she got home, she laid on the couch, next to an exercise bicycle. Every day she tried to get up on the bicycle and then when she did, tried to pedal. After months, she was able to do it and these exercises for reduced mobility actually worked. She lived ten years longer and walked on her own. It’s never too late until you give up hope.
You need to work on all types of fitness.
Even people who can’t get out of bed can do some exercises, either on their own or with help from others. It’s important to get all types of exercises, which include strength training, flexibility exercises, balance training and endurance. Arm exercises and something as simple as making circles with the feet can actually be quite a workout. Strength training with light weights or resistance bands are also a few exercises to do.
Do as much as you can, but don’t overdo.
Just like working out in the gym, you have to make sure you focus on safety, too. If you’re experiencing pain, quit. Nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat or clammy hands can be a signal you’re overdoing. Take it slow and if you have an area that’s injured, don’t work on that area until it’s healed. Make sure you warm up a bit with slower movement like swinging your arms or doing shoulder rolls. Always make sure you hydrate before and after you do the exercises.
Keep moving and do something fun.
Just moving more can help you recoup faster or develop more mobility. If you’re bedridden, try bed dancing. Turn on the music and focus on tightening and relaxing muscle groups. Wave your arms around to the music and move your hips. You can do those things whether you’re in bed, sitting in a chair or even able to stand for a few minutes.
- Doing household chores can provide a workout. If you have a heavier sweeper that you can use as a support, vacuum the floor. Go as fast as possible, without over taxing yourself. If you have to rest, take a break when you’re tired.
- Think of something you used to do every day, but can’t do now. Envision the movements your body makes. Start slowly by mimicking the easier movements while sitting or lying in bed. You can walk while lying down or sitting in a chair without putting any weight on your legs.
- If you have an open area, secure an office chair with rollers on the bottom and arms to help keep you stable. Spend time trying to scoot around the room. You may only move an inch at first, but that’s still progress.
- Swimming is a great exercise for anyone who is weaker. There’s no pull from gravity when you’re in the pool. Just moving your hands through the water can build arm strength, just as walking builds leg strength.