April is Physical Wellness Month, which might help some of us think about improving our fitness and mobility a little more. Maybe you already have an exercise routine; that’s fantastic, but many of us tend to put it off. To some it may seem boring, uncomfortable or too strenuous. For these reasons and many others the idea of it can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Exercise can be especially difficult for those already experiencing pain or low energy. If you do experience any pain, you should check with your doctor first to see what exercise regimen is right for you. If physical discomfort is a problem, try aquatic exercise in a warm pool as the weightlessness is easier on joints. If you’re having trouble finding the motivation to work out, it helps to find an exercise that you can enjoy. Exercising with friends can make it a lot easier to find the motivation to work out. Watching television while exercising can make the time fly by. There are also many peaceful and meditative forms of exercise like tai chi. See the list of exercises below for more ideas.
However you’d like to get started, it doesn’t have to be much. Research shows that even a routine lasting 10 minutes a day can make a difference in improving not only muscle strength but stamina, allowing you to feel more comfortable exercising for longer periods of time. Whether you start at 10 minutes or an hour, the energy spent is well worth the reward and will allow you to move with greater ease and less discomfort, giving you more energy for daily activities. You might also find improvements in your sleep, mood and balance, not to mention a boost to your physical well-being. Remember, it’s okay to start slowly because this helps you find your own pace.
Starting your Exercise Risk Free
Stretching is a great way to improve mobility and reduce the risk of falling. Contrary to a popular misconception, stretching is not the best way to start your exercise. This is because stretching your muscles while they are still cold or unaccustomed to stretching can cause muscle sprains and related injuries. This is especially important if you haven’t worked out in a good while. Instead, you should warm up your body and prepare it for the rigorous movement it will get during your exercise.
Warming up your muscles and joints helps prevent the most common injuries during workouts, and this is done simply by taking some time to gently roll your joints around in every direction. Gently move your hands around in circles, bending only at the wrists, then your arms, neck, ankles, etc. To some, this can understandably be a less thrilling portion of a workout, but it can make all the difference. Once you’ve taken the time to warm up your body, you can begin your workout knowing that your body is now prepared to move. Stretching is most effective after you’ve completed your exercise regimen. Your muscles will now be warmed up and ready to be extended without risk of injury. Stretching after exercise will help restore your muscles to their resting state, maintaining your flexibility and preventing tightness.
Depending on your doctor’s restrictions, here are some exercises you can try:
- Simple stretches and strength training using light weights.
- Tai chi is a slow paced exercise that can help improve your balance.
- Yoga is a great exercise for the body and is calming for the mind. Try the less strenuous option of chair yoga.
- Just going on walks and getting some fresh air is as simple an exercise as it gets and is easy to start.
- Gardening can be a good source of exercise and is both calming and productive.
- Water exercise is lighter on the joints and can still give you a fantastic workout.
- Household chores can be a good workout, too. Besides, they have to get done anyway!
- Stationary bikes and treadmills are easy enough to start, especially if you enjoy watching TV.
- Exercise classes are a great way to stay motivated and active.
- Need help starting, continuing or expanding an exercise regimen to help improve your balance and endurance? Contact Home Care by Wesley for in-home help.