More and more seniors are using assistive mobility devices such as walkers, and it’s crucial that these individuals not let their restricted mobility limit their fitness level. Fortunately, staying active with a walker is as simple as finding the right exercises.
It may sound overly simple, but one of the best exercises that people with a walker can do is walk. Walking is an effective cardio exercise that can get your blood flowing, strengthen your legs and arms, stretch your lower limbs, and improve your mobility and balance, thus reducing your risk of falls.
Squats are not off the table for those who use a walker, and are an excellent way to strengthen your hips, thighs, knees, bones, and joints while increasing your heart rate. Just grab onto the walker, maintain a straight back, bend your knees and hips, and start squatting. If you feel unstable, position yourself with your back against a wall as an added security measure. You may not be able to perform a full squat, but that’s okay — just do as much as you can.
Walker lifts require and improve core stability, balance, and shoulder strength by utilizing the walker itself. Before trying to perform a walker lift, first ensure that your balance is good enough by momentarily stepping away from your walker (have someone spot you just in case). If you have adequate balance, all you have to do is take hold of your walker and raise it one or two inches off the ground. This exercise is easy to perform anywhere, as you’ll always have the necessary equipment with you!
Water walking provides the same benefits as regular walking, but with the added resistance that water provides. The buoyancy of water even reduces and relieves joint pressure, making this a great low-impact exercise for those who suffer from arthritis. Simply walk back and forth across a pool using your regular walker (if it is waterproof) or a walker specially designed for water.
Sit to Stands
Sit to stands are exactly what they sound like: sitting down in a chair and then standing back up using your walker. This functional exercise will help keep your body mobile and make you adept at transferring from a sitting to a standing position (and vice versa) with your walker. Just be sure to follow proper technique to avoid injury.
Seated Strengthening Exercises
People who use walkers have a wide variety of muscle-strengthening exercises that they can do while seated. To work the upper body, perform bicep curls, overhead presses, or arm raises using hand weights. Squeezing a medicine ball between your knees will target your inner thighs; and performing quick repetitions of leg lifts will tone your legs while also increasing your heart rate.
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