Exercise = Independence!

A Secret Benefit to Regular Exercise for Persons with Mobility Challenges

Let’s admit it. Besides the words ‘snow’ and ‘winter’ there is one other word that creates stress for many of us – EXERCISE!

Regular exercise is hard enough for a lot of Canadians but what if you have mobility challenges? Persons who require wheelchairs or walkers have to be especially motivated to stay fit.

It occurred to me the other day that we should really add one point to the long list of benefits from exercising – staying independent in our own homes longer.

Most people want to remain in their own homes as long as possible. Some have made physical changes to the family home while others have moved – all in an effort to increase the accessibility in the place they call home.

Aging in place is a term that is being embraced by both older adults and those with mobility challenges. But all of the additional features to increase accessibility that you can add to your home will be of no value if you don’t also maintain your overall health.

Magazine and newspaper articles, books, and daily news broadcasts all tell us repeatedly why we should engage in regular exercise regardless of our age or mobility.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

• Exercise is the key to healthy aging.
• Staying physically active and exercising regularly can help prevent or delay many diseases and disabilities.
• Studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise.
• Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, and those who have difficulty walking.
• There is a link between physical fitness and mental health.
• Exercise can delay, prevent or reverse the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
• Stretching increases flexibility, provides a better range of motion, reduces stress, improves circulation and helps maintain proper posture.
• Regular exercise will help increase your confidence which may lead to going out more and participating in social activities.
• Improved strength and flexibility can also make simple household chores easier – such tasks as climbing stairs or carrying groceries.
• Improved upper body strength can help you maneuver a wheel chair more easily. Improved lower body strength can improve mobility with a walker.
• Exercise can increase life expectancy.

Getting older does not have to mean you can’t enjoy simple activities any more. Many people have found that increasing their strength and flexibility has enabled them to return to hobbies they love such as gardening, dancing or shopping.

Consequences of Not Exercising Regularly

On the other hand, we know...

• Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are more active.
• Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.
• Lack of exercise can contribute to a loss of independence.

Simple Resources to Help You Get Started

If you are discouraged about starting and maintaining an exercise program because of illness, mobility restrictions, fear of falling, or other health concerns think again. There is a wealth of exercise instruction available to persons who want or need to exercise while sitting.

A consistent exercise program can help you reduce the effects of such illnesses as arthritis, can increase mobility, help to prevent falls and generally help you feel better than ever... reasons that reverse your fears of getting active in the first place.

Ask your family doctor or health care provider to recommend a routine that is perfect for you. Visit the local Senior’s Center or Y to see what they have to offer. Call the library to see if there are nearby community groups you can join. And of course, a simple search on the Internet will provide videos of excellent programs that you can participate in while remaining seated.

Remember, exercise is one of the secret ingredients to ensuring you live safely and comfortably in your own home as long as possible.

Jeffrey Kerr, Broker, RE/MAX Unique Inc.
Dedicated to helping families and individuals buy or sell Barrier Free, Accessible Homes
Master Accredited Senior Agent, Senior Real Estate Specialist
Direct Land Line: 416-424-2222

Please call or email me with any questions.
Jeffrey Kerr, Broker, RE/MAX Unique Inc., Brokerage
Tel: 416-424-2222
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