September 6


Best Ways to Exercise with Limited Mobility and Stay Fit

How to Exercise with Limited Mobility

During the current pandemic wave, most people have restricted themselves to their houses and apartments to stay safe. Due to limited space in most residential places, it is important to stay active and keep your body healthy physically and mentally by doing daily exercise within the limited space available. For example, this includes running inside or outside the house (if your country allows park walks), light walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, table tennis, indoor gym, etc. Many people prefer to perform their exercises in water, such as aqua-jogging, as they find muscular and joint discomfort in such exercises. Whatever your case is…

Limited mobility doesn’t mean you can’t exercise

The word limited mobility does not necessarily mean that you cannot exercise. To enjoy the full health benefits, i.e., to keep active and safe, participating in exercises with limited mobility is crucial. For instance, if you have a swimming pool facility in the house, you can do a gentle workout with less physical body movement if you have a disability. Otherwise, practicing on a resistance band for muscular strength and flexibility is an option for normal people. A normal chair can also be used as an exercise prop. Finally, walking, jumping, and running are also helpful as an entire cardio session.

What exercises are possible with limited mobility?

There are plenty of indoor and outdoor exercises depending on people’s unique needs, like age, disability, muscular or joint discomfort, etc. For people who have a problem with muscles or any disability preventing them from doing hard exercises, indoor exercises can be an option. For instance, water’s buoyancy can be one of them. It puts very little stress on muscles and joints, which ultimately helps in reducing pain. To further improve and strengthen the flexibility of the muscles, a resistance band could be helpful. Using a chair as an exercise prop creates multiple exercise options within the house. For example, leg straightening, where the person sits on a chair, bends their legs and touches the floor. Now, bring one of the legs upwards and stretch it to the maximum extent. Repeat the same for the other leg too. 

Another option with a chair is the seated chest stretch, where a person will sit on a chair and make the stomach muscles firm by keeping the chest up. The arms and shoulders will be relaxed, and the head is straight up, and the eyes are looking to the front. Now, pull the arms outside, with palms of the hands facing forward. Push the arms to the backside and keep widening the chest as much as possible. Finally, inhale and be in this position for some time. Relax and repeat as much as you want.

Setting yourself up for exercise success

To make sure that any exercise is successful, there are some points to be taken care of. For example, before starting any exercise, one should always be realistic and deterministic about it. The exercise goals should not be ambiguous or impossible.  If you plan it more demanding, it is never going to be successful. Continuity in this sense is always important, so one should always thoroughly identify the hurdles, barriers and resolve them. For instance, making a schedule in this regard is very important. To keep yourself motivated, you should track your progress daily. Be motivated, and do the exercise more like a game and enjoy it as fun.

Starting an exercise routine

It is worthwhile to find your fitness level and then assess it daily to start a successful exercise routine. How much you are capable of the standard baselines scores you can set as a benchmark. It is always a good idea to start with lower goals and increase them slowly. Finally, monitoring the progress and analyzing it is always good for maintaining a standard exercise routine.

Staying safe when exercising

It is important to dress up properly by wearing loose clothes and proper exercise shoes to ensure a safe exercise. Before starting exercise, running, jogging, dancing, or any other exercise is good for warming up the body. Similarly, stretch the muscles slowly as much as possible but not to the point of pain. Finally, preventing dehydration from the body is possible by drinking enough amount of water.

Getting more out of your workouts

Some habits after your workout will result in the biggest benefit. For instance, listening to music can help you recover faster after the workout. Likewise, keeping shorter breaks after a high-intensity exercise or drinking plenty of water can also be very beneficial. Finally, to give a rest to the muscles, a better night is sleep is always helpful.

How to exercise with an injury or disability

When a person starts exercising after just the injury has healed, it’s highly recommended to start exercising slowly by using lighter weights and lesser resistance. Before starting the proper exercise, warm-up is of immense importance, like walking, stretching muscles, shoulder rolls, etc. Keep in mind that stretching muscles should be avoided in case the muscles are cold. Some exercises in this regard might be stair walking, running and walking, and monitoring the pain.

Workouts for upper-body injury or disability

People with chronic health conditions or serious disabilities can exercise by performing physical activities. But it is important to consult a doctor or health professional. A physical therapist is the best option to help you understand the health conditions and recommend the right exercises. Aerobic physical activities like walking, running, and wheelchair basketball can be a few of the options. 

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    Isometric exercises

    Isometric exercises strengthen a target muscle by applying tension for some time. They are also called static strength training. The muscle tone decreases when we get older, which results in the loss of the absorption of amino acids. The Isometric exercises help to maintain muscular strength. Low squat, plank, wall sit, and calf raise hold are just a few examples to mention.

    Electro muscle stimulation

    Electro muscle stimulation, known as electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) or specifically as electromyostimulation, strengthens the muscle contraction through electric impulses. This is usually used as a recovery tool after exercising, especially by athletes. A 1% increase in muscle is reported by using the EMS method.

    How to exercise in a chair or wheelchair

    To easily do an isometric exercise using a chair, put your hands on the edge of the chair by keeping a distance between the hands equal to shoulder width. Then hold your body up by straightening the arms. After that, slowly come down as much as you can by bending your elbows, and then move up with the help arms again. Keep repeating this exercise again and again. The wheelchair exercises are mostly focused on the arms and shoulders. Sitting on a wheelchair with a good posture, pulling the arms backward, joining hands, and squeezing the shoulder blades together will result in a muscular contraction.

    Cardiovascular exercise in a chair or wheelchair

    Sit comfortably on a chair or wheelchair, swing your arms back, first alternate your arms, and then together. You can also move your arms in march. These kinds of slow, medium, and fast motions of arms will increase the body’s heart rate and blood flow.  Maneuvering a wheelchair can also put pressure on the upper part of the body and is useful in these exercises.

    Strength training

    The strength training can be done by using both wheelchair and a chair. For instance, shoulder retractions, knee lifts con be done using a wheelchair. Body-weight squats, walking lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, dumbbell training, planks, single-arm row, wall squat, and chest press can be easily done at home. This can be done twice a week and for around 10 to 20 minutes.

    Flexibility exercises

    Flexibility exercises have multiple benefits, as they reduce muscle stiffness and risk of injury. Therefore, the flexibility exercises are not just for athletes but rather for everyone. Flexibility exercises include standing quad stretch, seated hamstring stretch, standing side stretch, Standing Calf Stretch, forward hang, shoulder stretch, butterfly Groin stretch, back stretch, split squat, and modified cobra.

    How to exercise if you’re overweight or have diabetes

    Multiple exercises help lose weight and control diabetes. For over-weighting people, starting with something in the daily routine, like skipping the elevator and using the stairs, is recommended. Have a daily routine after eating or work: push-ups, ride a stationary bike, modified squats, etc. People with diabetes can start walking, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, aerobic dance, and Yoga is also good for reducing stress for blood sugar control.

    Cardiovascular workouts

    The cardiovascular workouts can be done with brisk walking, jogging, bear crawls, swimming, marching in place, single leg stand, jogging in place, arm circles, jumping jacks, squat jumps, cycling, running, and water aerobics. These exercises should be done at least five days a week with at least 30 minutes per day. Heart-pumping exercise should be for at least  150 minutes per week. That’s what doctors recommend normally.

    Strength training

    Strength training, known as resistance training, is a physical activity to enhance muscular strength and improve fitness by exercising a targeted muscle against external weight, including free weights, body weight, or weight machine. Examples include hill walking, lifting weights, cycling, dancing, resistance bands, pus-ups, situps, and different squats.

    Flexibility workouts

    Flexibility workouts mean stretching and lengthen the muscles to prevent back pain, injuries, and balance problems. A well-stretched muscle is capable of achieving its full motion. This includes forward and sides lunge, quad stretch, cross-over, seat stretch, knees to chest, triceps, Yoga, wall chest stretch, butterfly stretch, sitting shoulder stretch, etc. 

    How to Exercise With Limited Mobility

    Staying mentally and physically active and healthy is more challenging with age. Regular exercising is a powerful way of strengthening your body which can help in maintaining independence. Despite so many benefits, limited mobility is the most common factor directly affecting older people. You can do many exercises with and without leaving the chair, aptly called limited mobility workouts. For instance, walking, dancing, and swimming can be better for cardiovascular exercises. But, knee extensions, seated march, and lifting toes of both feet can be done using a chair or wheelchair.

    Get into the Right Mindset

    If the fitness routine is declining day by day, then some steps are important to exercise regularly. The first thing is to set a realistic workout plan and then do not try to skip it. Seek inspiration and try to track the progress. Find those workouts you enjoy, and keep reminding yourself of the benefits of an active life. It is always better that you have someone by your side as an accountability partner.


    Before physical exertion or main course exercises, you should warm-up. It is a set of stretching exercises for preparation. Warm-up includes running, different squats, push-ups, planks, side lunges, leg bends, jumping rope, jogging, arm circles, leg swings, Yoga, ankle circles, and bouncing or jerking, etc. Seated march, toe lifts, and overhead press can be done by using a chair or wheelchair.

    Arm Stretches

    For arm stretches, pick a wall, go up to it, and put your tricep flat against the wall by keeping your elbow bent. Now, try to move your body close to the wall until you start feeling the stretch in your back. You should do two sets by holding your arms up for 30 to 60 seconds. The other stretch is called the forearm stretch. For this, put your arm straight in front of you, elbow locked out, and palm facing down. Now, grab your fingers, pull them down, i.e., towards the floor, and hold this for about 30 seconds until you start feeling a stretch of your forearm into the elbow.

    Leg Stretches

    For leg stretches, you need to lie down on your back, raise up your left leg. Now, hold your leg below the knee with your hands. Then bend your right leg down towards the floor.   Now, keep your leg straight, and start pulling your left leg towards you. Repeat the same exercise for your right leg. Some other leg stretches might be forward fold, tree pose, and calf stretch.

    Thigh Presses

    Thigh Presses are exercises that target the muscles of the legs and are an excellent way of strengthening the legs. The different kinds of squats and leg/thigh presses work on the quadriceps and the muscles at the back of your thighs. Thigh press can be performed using resistance bands that replace the weight of the leg/thigh press machine. Some of the other exercises with limited mobility are lunges, planks, squats, single-leg deadlifts, step-ups, and bridge-tone on your thighs.

    Dumbbell Workouts

    The Dumbbell Workouts have plenty of benefits like building muscles, force, and flexibility of muscles. It is also helpful for burning fats, like hold a dumbbell in a vertical position in each of your hands. Now move with the forwarding step to bend the knees at 90◦. To restart, step/push back off the front foot and repeat by leading with the other leg. Try to train a different group of muscles on different days for enough resting of muscles.

    Seated Twists

    Seated twists are a kind of yoga exercise that improves spinal mobility and helps in good digestion. To do a seated twist, sit on a chair and your knees completely with 90◦, and your feet flat. Bring your shoulders straight up to 90◦ with elbows, bend with 90◦, and maintain this position. Now start rotating to the left as far as possible, and then rotate to the opposite side. Repeat this exercise around thirty wraps. These exercises are designed to improve core strength and posture control.

    Lift Ups

    Lift-ups/pull-ups are the simple and best exercise for building back muscles. This exercise allows you to target your shoulders, upper back, arms, chest, and core. There are plenty of lift-up exercises, such as a pull-up bar, which can be done using a wall-mounted pull-up bar if you want to do it in-house. Other exercises include lat pulldowns, chin-ups, assisted pull-ups, negative pull-ups, knee raises, hang tough, Wide grip pull-ups, and Pull up shrugs. Lift-ups have multiple benefits, including strengthening bones and joints, building muscles, and burning body fats.

    Be Gentle With Yourself

    To maintain a quality standard of life, substantial exercise with a healthy diet is crucial. There are multiple ways to be gentle with yourself. For example, use kind words for yourself, take care of your body, e.g., do not smoke and drink too much. Do a little exercise every day, which will keep you both mentally and physically active. Furthermore, walk in the fresh air in a green park, and try to be close to nature. Adjust your eating habits, for instance, consume some amount of vegetables and fruits on a regular basis

    Cool Down

    Once you are done with any exercise, cool down. Cooling down in terms of exercise is a simple exercise, which gradually limbers down your body after an intensive exercise. This can normally be a slow walk or jogging, upper body stretch, knee to chest pose, seated forward bend, lunging calf stretch, core abdominal stretch, standing quad stretch, and bent knee cross-body stretch. Furthermore, hydration is needed to cool down your muscles. You can also get a massage by sitting on a massage chair.

    Final Thoughts

    Never let limited mobility limit your exercise routine. Whatever mobility level you are capable of, get the best workout you can. Keep up with your exercise regimen, whether it’s opting for workouts to do in bed, some light wheelchair exercises, seated stretches, or a chair cardio workout. That’s the only way to stay fit and have good health. We hope you enjoyed this article. If you think we missed something, do let us know in the usual place. Thank you for reading, and have a great day!