If you wear a smartwatch to keep track of your health, then you know that it doesn’t take much to get your heartbeat up and begin burning calories. Even the lightest movements, such as stretching your arms, lifting your shoulders and stretching out your legs increases breathing which, in turn, increases oxygen levels.
April is “Move More Month” and it’s important because it puts the spotlight on the value of movement to health. Typically, we think of movement in the form of conducting a series of on-your-feet exercises. But for many individuals with limb impairment or other physical impairment, getting up and doing jumping jacks and toe touches is out of the question.
Unfortunately, however, many individuals continue to believe that if they’re not sweating, they’re not exercising. And all too often this misconception keeps them from doing anything at all! There are many things they could and should be doing that are not full out exercises but bring significant benefits.
The New York Times recently reported on a series of studies showing how movement stimulated parts of the brain responsible for identifying neural cells in decline and responding to help heal them.
The Cleveland Clinic has published a list of exercises recommended by the National Institute of Aging that individuals with limited mobility can do to improve overall health. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
- Strength: Gripping a tennis ball, using a resistance band or raising your arms up and down.
- Endurance: Marching in place or leg lifts.
- Balance: Standing up and sitting down repeated sequentially, heel-to-toe raises.
- Flexibility: Stretching, yoga, bending down and touching toes, shoulder rolls and shrugs.
At our Anthem Memory Care communities, we take joy in identifying ways for each of our residents to move regularly, carefully tailoring their activities to meet each individual’s abilities.
If you are caring for a loved one with mobility issues, look for simple exercises that can be done without putting undue stress on them. Conducting consistent, purposeful movements throughout the day can bring both physical and emotional benefits.
The more movement, the better so keep it up and, above all, don’t give up!
(Speaking of movement, our top image shows residents of Highline Place Memory Care in Littleton, Colorado engaging in a rousing game of balloon volleyball!)