Senior adults who suddenly couldn’t move farther than five steps usually fall into a state of depression. For many years, they could do anything they want. They were gainfully employed, and they lived a healthy and active lifestyle. Many seniors imagined themselves traveling the world when they are old and gray. But sometimes, life throws you a curveball, and you will find yourself in an assisted-living facility, depending on a caregiver to help you get to the bathroom. This kind of situation is always a big blow to senior adults who used to live independently.
But what happens when they fall into the trap of depression is even worse than the actual physical disability. Depression impacts the person’s physical abilities, too. Some senior adults fall so deep into it that they don’t even want to move around or do things for themselves anymore. They succumb to the idea that they are no longer able to fend for themselves.
It is exactly what depression wants, and it is what seniors should avoid. The use of exercise and workouts is a big difference-maker in the lives of senior adults suffering from limited mobility. Regular exercise is still essential even to people with disabilities. In fact, it may even be more beneficial to them than those who can do these activities with ease.
What Kind of Physical Activities Can Disabled Seniors Do?
There are a lot of physical activities that seniors can participate in. Of course, they aren’t going to do contact sports. They aren’t even going to run or play anything that might further endanger their lives or injure them.
A simple yoga and Pilates session are a great way for seniors to move their muscles and develop strength there. Both of these are low-impact activities that even protect one’s mental health. Yoga, for example, puts senior adults in a meditative state that calms down their minds when they worry too much.
Pilates is a form of yoga combined with ballet and calisthenics. Like yoga, it requires extreme concentrations. You must also breathe properly while doing the routine. Both of these forms of exercise aim to strengthen the core muscles. Seniors with limited mobility can work on these positions because many of these don’t even require them to stand up. They can do many of the routines while sitting down.
However, these forms of exercise are not designed to make you lose weight. If the senior adults are a bit on the heavier side, they’d still need to eat a proper and balanced diet. You might need to do other weight-loss exercises.
Disabilities and limited mobility shouldn’t stop seniors from participating in the sports that they love. Even if their abilities are limited, they can reconfigure the rules of the sports to fit their needs. A lot of disabled senior adults still play basketball in their wheelchairs. Sure, it’s not as adrenaline-pumping as watching basketball stars, but it’s inspiring to see seniors doing the things they love.
Many sports can be modified to fit the requirements of a disabled person. Archery, cycling, tennis, table tennis, rowing, sailing, shooting, and golf are some of the sports that disabled seniors can do. The Paralympic Games are specially designed for people with disabilities. You can take a leaf out of their book when you can’t think of non-contact and low-impact competitive sports senior adults with limited mobility can do.
Aerobic activities cause your heart rate to increase for an extended period. Swimming, walking, running, dancing, and aerobics are some of the most popular types of cardio workouts. Seniors can still do many of these, even if they have limited mobility. Do you know that seniors in wheelchairs can “run” on the treadmill? They can burn up to 350 kcal in just 30 minutes with a trainer.
It is important for seniors to still improve their strength. This reduces the symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, diabetes, and heart diseases. Seniors, of course, should be careful with the weight that they train with. They can use weights such as small hand weights and wrist cuff weights. They can even use elastic resistance bands while sitting down.
Life is too short to allow things like mobility and age to hinder you from doing the things you love or living life the way you want it. Making sure to embrace whatever limited mobility you have is the first step to living a healthy and active lifestyle. Once you accepted that age and medical conditions took a toll on your body, it is easier to find the right physical activities for you to do.