Clever Cardio for Those with Mobility Issues

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/2/2011 2:00 PM   :  132 comments   :  81,836 Views

One of my mantras is: "That which I cannot do now is my aspiration, not my defeat."
 
If you are have trouble moving or haven’t exercised in awhile, it can be very daunting to take on new cardio moves.  Most cardio moves involve the need to be on your feet, so I’m going to give you a few that don’t.  This is part of the CAN DO SparkPeople attitude I would love to see people embrace.
 
As most of you know, I was totally bedridden at 460 pounds and have lost 150 pounds.  I had to come up with some cardio moves that did not involve my legs because at that time, I couldn’t use them.  Clever Cardio, let’s call it.  That’s the cardio you come up with when you think out of the box or throw the box out completely.  Remember everything is better with music.
 
Here are some exercises that worked for me. Always consult with your health-care provider before starting any new workout routine.
 
Punch Aerobics

I created these exercises to be done seated or standing.

Get 2 hand weights, the round kind that fit in your palm with a band that go over the front of your hand. Put on music and punch and do upper body dance moves.

Get a pillow. Put on music and punch the pillow up above you. The goal is to keep the pillow up. If it falls, pick it up and start again, just keep going, because the pillow WILL fall a lot. It's part of the game.
 
Dance!
 
Yes, with or without your legs!  Simply put on your favorite music and strike a few poses.  Get crazy and just let go and move.  Add extra resistance with hand weights.  I personally like the 80’s music!
 
Hula Hands and Hips
Get two Frisbee Flying Rings.  Use one on each hand and make circles like you are spinning the hoops around your wrists.  
 
 
 
Make figure eights with your hips on a stability ball.  This is another one where you can really get creative with seated dance moves!
 
Resistance Bands and Hand Weights
 
Moving faster with these items will produce a sweat in a hurry and help you build muscle.
 
Sometimes I clean for my workout.  It sounds silly, but with my abilities (NOT disabilities) it is well suited to give me personally a sweaty workout.  That’s something I like to focus on now, my abilities- what I CAN do, rather than what is out of my reach. 
 
When it comes to exercise, nothing is out of bounds, too silly or too little to help.  Something is always better than nothing. 
 
What exercises do you use when you can't use your legs?


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Comments

  • 82
    I can use my legs, but I've been at an impasse lately as to how to make exercise fun. I don't enjoy it anymore, and I don't do it. I wish I had a workout partner in my neighborhood, someone to walk with. Because I love to walk, but I'm afraid to walk alone. And the malls are so weird. - 9/6/2011   8:56:24 AM
  • 81
    How inspiring you are! Thanks for the great thoughts! - 9/6/2011   6:22:10 AM
  • FIESTY_NANA
    80
    You are such an inspiration! Great job! Keep it up! Amazing losing 150 pounds! - 9/5/2011   7:35:06 PM
  • HENNIPENNI
    79
    You are amazing. I'm faffing about wondering how to include cardio into my schedule. You encouraged me to get up, or sit or lie but just do it. Thank you. - 9/5/2011   1:36:13 PM
  • LYNNELONG
    78
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. This has given me the push to STOP saying 'I cant exercise cause of my health' I now CAN exercise,I am over the moon at finding these messages, only joined yesterday, but I feel so positive about getting my weight down by about 50 lbs and moving move, life is looking up xxx - 9/5/2011   7:42:06 AM
  • WEASELANN
    77
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR STORY AND TIPS IM NOT STUCK IN MY CHAIR YET BUT GETTING CLOSE . I DO HAVE DAYS WHERE I CAN NOT GET UP OUT OF MY CHAIR BUT WANT TO MOVE AROUND. I HAVE DONE THE DANCING IN MY CHAIR AND IT IS FUN. BUT HAVING NO FEELING IN MY HANDS AND ARMS MAKES IT HARD FOR ME TO HOLD THINGS. SO I GOT SOME 1 AND 2 POUND ANKLE WEIGHTS TO PUT ON MY WRIST TO MOVE THEM AROUND. I HOPE I AM GETTING THE SAME EFFECT THAT WAY. AND I WILL TRY SOME OF YOUR OTHER TIPS . THANKS AGAIN I GUESS I NEED TO THINK MORE ON THAT I CAN DO IT . - 9/5/2011   5:12:03 AM
  • 76
    FINALLY SOME EXERCISE IDEAS FOR THOSE OF US WHO CAN'T RUN AND JUMP!!! THANK YOU!!! - 9/5/2011   12:10:59 AM
  • 75
    Thanks for the great ideas!
    ~Kim (dx MS) - 9/4/2011   11:14:23 PM
  • 74
    very inspiring and a great excuse to throw some j-lo/pitbull and the peas on and with my new speakers :) Makes me WANNA move hehe.

    and with this heel spur... a great alternative. - 9/4/2011   9:46:45 PM
  • KIWIGYPSY
    73
    Very inspirational! All the best on your journey. - 9/4/2011   8:38:31 PM
  • 72
    My daughter always considers herself handi-capable. She will love these ideas!
    - 9/4/2011   6:01:36 PM
  • 71
    These are some great suggestions!!! I would also like to add the suggestion of using a balloon instead of a pillow, too. That feels so much like childhood, it can't help but be fun! :D

    I am also a Registered Massage Therapist, and I'm always looking for ideas to give clients who are mobility-challenged. Movement is so important! Even if you can't "do cardio", just moving your body is a great first step! The longer you are still, the more your body will want to stay that way. In fact, your fascia (connective tissue that holds all your bits & pieces together) will thicken in order to help hold you in any position that you stay in for longer than 20 min! It will "melt away" with movement, but the more that is built up, the less movement you will be able to do. So, for those who have trouble even following the suggestions listed above, start off with simply exploring what movement you CAN do! Point your toes, stretch your fingers and wrists, do mini-head circles... your body was designed to move! It will thank you for it! :)

    Also, one little tidbit of self-help... you can do self-massage to any tight areas with a plastic water bottle filled with hot (not burning-hot, though!) water. Use it like a rolling pin whenever you feel a tight area (you can also use a tennis ball, if you prefer). If you do have an injury or health condition, always seek professional advice, though.

    Hope this helps! - 9/4/2011   5:02:11 PM
  • 70
    Great ideas! I can't do a lot of standing or walking; I have issues with pain because of cancer. - 9/4/2011   4:03:43 PM
  • 69
    Thank for helping us keep moving..... it feels good to move... i love the feeling
    thanks - 9/4/2011   3:09:14 PM
  • 68
    You are an AWESOME inspiration!!!! Thank you for sharing your struggles and your successes. You should be so proud!!!!! - 9/4/2011   2:47:18 PM
  • 67
    Thank you! I was in a car accident 4 months ago, and I'm still not allowed to walk. I have been STRUGGLING so much with cardio, I swear, I had almost given up on it! But this has some awesome ideas. I will definitely try them! - 9/4/2011   2:24:10 PM
  • JUDYCASH77
    66
    Congrats to you! I have walking issues, but found I love the Nu Step at our local community center in the cardio workout room. It is a "seated stepper" and both arms and legs are used, but it does not hurt my back. - 9/4/2011   2:07:31 PM
  • 65
    I like the Wii sports resort games. They have hand biking, archery, and others. - 9/4/2011   2:04:10 PM
  • 64
    Thanks so much for your post. It is just what i need right now to get started...i've got to find a way to get moving again. Between my back, hip, knees, heels and foot pain....i sit on the computer all day or lay in bed watching tv. Guess what? I'm not loosing any weight (over 350lbs) and i'm loosing the little mobility i have. Besides your exercise ideas, the other comments have given me lots of GREAT IDEAS!!! thanks every one......shari - 9/4/2011   1:48:05 PM
  • 63
    GREAT job, you are an inspiration. - 9/4/2011   12:52:12 PM
  • 62
    I do chair yoga (Trudie Styler's Weight Loss Workout). I have a foot issue and am supposed to avoid walking, etc.I love this workout because you can grow out of the chair eventually. Congrads, you are a creative, determined lady. I admire you. - 9/4/2011   12:44:30 PM
  • 1FITANDREADY1
    61
    Hi: Great ideas. I fell and broke my knee cap 2 1/2 years ago and still can't do a lot (walk, sit, stand for very long). As a result I gained 20 pounds which I am trying to get rid of but it's not coming off very fast!! It is so stiff but I exercise every day. Has anyone had the same injury and knows how to eleviate the stiffness I would love to hear from you. It feels like I have a tight band on my whole knee. Thanks.

    Pat - 9/4/2011   10:47:38 AM
  • EAGLES_WINGS
    60
    Thank you, Beth. I am physically challenged. I weigh almost 300lbs. Sometimes I fluctuate and go over 300. I am working on muscle and losing fat content. But, I just started aqua therapy. My first session, I could barely do anything and I was sore afterward and very tired that night. I guess it is true about the no pain, no gain thing. I like your ideas and hope to try and use them. I guess I have not been thinking outside the box much at all. I have felt a lot like I am not able to do much. But, more and more with medication and more confidence, I have been able to move more. I have had lots of physical therapy in the last year or so. I think I may start being able to actually "get it." I read a blog yesterday about the importance of movement. I think that every move counts and I like that Martin Luther King quote another member posted, keep moving. That is the best solution. I am on it. Thank you again, Beth. You are a terrific inspiration and I do admire you for all you have done for yourself and how you continue to encourage and be an example for others. You rock, girlfriend!!!!!!!! - 9/4/2011   6:53:14 AM
  • 59
    Great blog! Great imagination! Great inspiration!!! - 9/4/2011   5:32:20 AM
  • 58
    I love your attitude and that you are such an inspiration. - 9/4/2011   4:26:39 AM
  • SEPTLEFTY
    57
    Congrats I have a lot of extra weight and its hard on my knees and back and when I sit too long I get stiff but the more I walk the better I feel so I know it will get better. - 9/4/2011   3:20:37 AM
  • 56
    way to go!
    and turn it around.... it's not "disability" (I'm deaf, I hear that a lot)... but in fact, it is "different ability".... ;-)

    Hugs!
    Julia - 9/4/2011   2:08:31 AM
  • 55
    I love your creativity. Congratulations on your accomplishments. I may implement some of these on rained out dates. - 9/3/2011   9:45:54 PM
  • 54
    Wow! inspiring, clever, fun, and successful! Good for you! - 9/3/2011   8:10:25 PM
  • 53
    Keep up the good work - 9/3/2011   8:09:41 PM
  • 52
    Congratulations on your progress so far. You are truly an inspiration. And thank you for sharing your creative ideas. I'm sure you started a "movement."
    ;-) - 9/3/2011   7:47:58 PM
  • GINGERFM
    51
    I was born club footed in the forties. At that time the knew how to move my feet into a correct position. I had additional surgery at age 7. I went along ok for 3 decades when my feet started hurting me. Now at 68 years I walk but doctors say it is amazing! I should not be able to walk at all. All my life I was determined to do what I wanted. I think walking falls into this category. I cannot walk for exercise. 10 years ago I bought a recumbant bike. It has been the best purchase of my life! I ride it 4 times a week and do weights 2 times a week. I admire you and your creativity. Thanks for letting me know that I am not the only one with physical problems. - 9/3/2011   7:45:51 PM
  • FRANDOC444
    50
    Thanks for sharing. - 9/3/2011   7:14:39 PM
  • 49
    Awesome blog. Your attitude is so inspiring. I am finding that as things start getting harder to do, I just have to find a different way of doing them. I have trouble finding exercises that I can do without adjusting them. You have definitely got me started on some different ways of exercising. I was getting tired of doing the same things over and over. The pillow is the best I have heard of. Love it!! - 9/3/2011   6:45:21 PM
  • ILLINITEACHER52
    48
    Thanks for the suggestions. I am having some knee issues right now and have been discouraged. Now I have some things that I can do and look forward to trying them. - 9/3/2011   5:09:54 PM
  • 47
    Clever ideas Beth! Thanks for sharing.

    barbara - 9/3/2011   4:45:04 PM
  • NIMI1234
    46
    Congratulations on your weight loss and thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas. My mom has osteoporosis issues and cannot do cardio while standing. I am planning to share these ideas with her and inspire her to get some exercise and lose weight. Thanks once again. Please keep up the good work you are doing. - 9/3/2011   4:43:11 PM
  • 45
    Thank you for the suggestions--and even more so, for the reminder to throw the box out (love that!). My knees and hips are a mess after the most recent weight spike I'm slowly working back off here at Sparkpeople, plus I'm also rebounding from unemployment and was having trouble budgeting for chairdancing videos and whatnot. I now have a new commitment to come up with some beyond-the-box solutions to both those problems. More power to you on your journey! - 9/3/2011   1:59:40 PM
  • KATHYPETERS1986
    44
    Thanks for sharing. I am going to share your story wiht my niece who is in a wheelchair as a result of a bad car accident. You are an inspiration! - 9/3/2011   1:14:20 PM
  • 43
    I love your mantra, infact I may have to borrow it sometime. Thank you for sharing this. My mom has mobility issues due to a bad hip and knee issue and I am going to share your story with her..... - 9/3/2011   12:45:40 PM
  • MHARMSTON1
    42
    Thank you Beth for your wonderful encouragement and insight. - 9/3/2011   11:45:40 AM
  • 41
    thank you for all the wonderful suggestions! I remember doing the figure 8 one on the ball as part of my physio regime. I also tried dancercise except using just a chair (no standing required) it was great! Its so great to see others who are willing to share their success stories. - 9/3/2011   11:40:37 AM
  • BLACKBEAUTY54
    40
    I love your pillow idea I will give it a go. You look so AWESOME keep the good work up. No pain No gain - 9/3/2011   11:17:07 AM
  • JACKIE1173
    39
    This is great for me when I cant get to the gym thanks. - 9/3/2011   11:17:04 AM
  • 38
    One of the most important exercises for anyone, in a chair or not, to get rid of those bat wings on the arms, arm rolls, do them up high, pretend you are working a speed bag, down low, round to the side. How fast you you circle your arms around and don't forget to go in the reverse direction! They are tough!! I use weighted hand gloves for extra challenge, and they work for boxing moves too :) Do on a balance ball for extra difficulty! - 9/3/2011   11:07:36 AM
  • 37
    Thanks for today's inspiration, and congratulations on improving your health! - 9/3/2011   11:04:04 AM
  • 36
    Thanks. Being in a wheelchair it's hard to find appropriate exercises. This helps. - 9/3/2011   10:51:20 AM
  • 35
    I love your positive can do attitude. These are great suggestions. You are such an inspiration to so many, thank you! Keep it going girl. - 9/3/2011   10:43:26 AM
  • 34
    Great! Thanks! - 9/3/2011   10:38:50 AM
  • 33
    These are great ideas even if you can move around. Lying in bed and punching a pillow just sounds fun and will get my body moving before I am up and at em! - 9/3/2011   10:38:32 AM

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