Exercise is important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but for one reason or another you may have stopped exercising. A common reason with many individuals is lack of confidence due to having reduced mobility. This may have stemmed from an injury, weight gain or old age for example, but hopefully, after reading this, you will have a sense of hope in making your next step back to exercise. 

Firstly, get advice from your doctor, physical therapist, or other health care provider about activities suitable for your medical condition or mobility restriction.

Mobility means our ability to move freely from A to B and when we are lacking in mobility, regaining our strength with suitable exercises whilst simultaneously performing exercises to further improve that area should take priority. Often these will go hand in hand and the exercises that you perform can have greater benefits than you initially thought. 

Warm Up and Cool Down 

Performing a warm up and cool down has potential performance benefits (1), and these are largely used for exercise preparation and injury prevention (2). Perform a few minutes of light activity such as walking, arm circles, arm swings and some light gentle stretching. After your exercises or workout perform some light activity and some deeper stretching exercises for a few minutes.

No Pain No Gain  

‘No pain no gain’ is a quote that has been around the fitness or exercise industry for a while, with the concept of you can't make progress without pain to some degree. Obviously, this is interpreted differently for everyone, however, this is something that you should definitely avoid. 

Cardiovascular Exercise 

For the majority of individuals, cardiovascular exercises are possible to perform and the potential benefits of cardiovascular training, it's worth performing it in some capacity.

Walking, running, dancing, are great indoor or outdoor options. Water based activities such as swimming or water aerobics can be more suitable for individuals struggling with the previous activities. Additionally, swimming can be a great alternative for most people with reduced mobility as it has been associated with reduced joint pain for individuals with osteoarthritis and further improved muscle strength (3).

Resistance Training 

Resistance Training exercises can provide a host of benefits such as the prevention of osteoporosis, improved joint health, strengthening muscles and improvements in balance. Resistance training can be performed with the use of bands, machines, cables pulleys and bodyweight, which also may be a more comfortable method for some. 

If you are unable to perform an exercise on a certain area of the body then focusing on strengthening a healthy body part without pain will be a suitable goal. 

Additionally, exercise such as yoga or flexibility work such as low intensity static stetching can also have many benefits in improving strength and mobility (4). 

 3 Easy Stretches to Get You Started 

Pec Stretch

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Standing Calf Stretch

Be Positive & Think Long Term

Starting any exercise may seem tough and daunting but don't be put off. In the long term the benefits will speak for themselves, but getting to that point will be hard to imagine for some. The need to make giant leaps is not necessary, therefore, it will be better to take small steps every day to help exercise become part of your daily routine.

The Plan 

  • The government recommends that adults aged 19 and above should aim to accumulate 150 minutes of exercise per week of moderate intensity exercise (5,6,7). 
  • Achieving the specific 150 minute goal is not necessary for some individuals, but for many it can provide a goal to achieve and accountability in reaching that goal. 
  • If you are currently not exercising at all then start exercising for 10 minutes a day, totalling 70 minutes or nearly half of the government exercise target. 
  • Once you're confident in increasing that time, start exercising 20 minutes a day. 
  • Eventually performing  20 or more minutes may seem easy and building up to the target of 150 minutes per week will be a healthy realistic target.